MANILA, Philippines – Expectations are high for Olympic medalists Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial as Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) president Ed Picson expressed confidence of another strong showing from the national team in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, this month.
Petecio and Marcial headline the solid squad of 10 boxers – five each for the men’s and women’s categories – ABAP will be sending to Hanoi for their SEA Games campaign from May 15 to 22.
The national team has been hard at work as it recently competed in the Thailand Open and Picson feels good about the Filipino boxers’ chances.
“We’re able to perform well, I would say. We won a couple of gold medals. Two weeks before the tournament, we sent them there to prepare and [the result] went beyond our expectations,” Picson said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum on Tuesday, May 3.
“We also decided that after the tournament that they stay in Thailand. They’re still there, so hopefully this would give them the proper training and preparation for the SEA Games,” he added.
Petecio, a silver medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, will try to rule the women’s featherweight (60kg) class, while Tokyo Games bronze medalist Marcial will attempt to defend his men’s middleweight (75) throne.
Also defending their respective SEA Games gold medals in the men’s division are light welterweight James Palicte (64kg) and flyweight Rogen Ladon (52kg).
Other members of the men’s team are bantamweight Ian Clark Bautista (57kg) and welterweight Marjon Piañar (69kg).
Reigning women’s light flyweight champion Josie Gabuco (48kg) eyes another gold medal, while flyweight Irish Magno (51kg) and featherweight Riza Pasuit (57kg) aim for the top prize after settling for silver in the 2019 edition.
Middleweight Hergie Bacyadan (75kg) completes the women’s team.
Carlo Paalam, a silver medal winner in Tokyo who has moved up in the same category as Ladon, will not see action in the SEA Games. He won gold in the men’s light flyweight class (46-49kg) in 2019 here.
Despite not having Paalam, Picson knows Ladon also has what it takes to win a medal in Hanoi.
“For me, Rogen Ladon is an ex-Olympian (2016 Rio de Janeiro) and he has been showing grit and determination. He has proven himself as captain of the national team and he is the best bet in that weight category,” said Picson at the same forum where he appeared with ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo. – Rappler.com