PHNOM PENH.—Wherever the late Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ed Picson may be, chances are he is smiling.
ABAP secretary general Marcus Jarwin Manalo believes the national boxing team made Picson proud after bringing home four golds, five silvers, and one bronze for a total of 10 medals from the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
Only two of the 12 boxers sent to the games here failed to win a medal.
“They’re really motivated to begin with. I told them if we can put up a performance that sir Ed will be very proud of, we should show that,” said Manalo. “I think sir Ed will be happy with this performance.”
Picson died last April just as the national boxing team ramped up its preparations for the SEA Games.
Refusing to let the late boxing chief down, nine boxers reached the finals in the biennial meet, with four coming out triumphant in their respective weight classes.
Olympic silver medalists Nesthy Petecio (women’s 57kg) and Carlo Paalam (men’s 54kg) powered the Philippines’ gold-medal charge, together with Ian Clark Bautista (men’s 57kg) and Paul Julyfer Bascon (men’s 60kg).
Rogen Ladon (men’s 51kg), Irish Magno (women’s 54kg), Norlan Petecio (men’s 67kg), Riza Pasuit (women’s 63kg), and John Marvin (men’s 80kg) delivered silver medals.
Basketball player-turned-boxer Markus Tongco added a bronze medal in the men’s 92kg class.
“Overall, we’re satisfied with the results,” said Manalo. “I feel like we could have probably won one more gold. But I can’t really complain with 10 medals.”
As Filipino sluggers gear up for the “big one” – the Asian Games, where spots in the 2024 Paris Games are up for grabs –Manalo said the team needs fine-tuning.
“There are obviously a lot of areas for improvement with the team and we’ll keep working on that. We saw a lot that we could address. We also need to be younger in terms of our lineup. We’ll start exposing our younger boxers in the coming tournaments to give them a shot.”