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Top boxers must compete in PNG

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is mandating all national sports associations–including the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (Abap) – to send their finest athletes to the Philippine National Games (PNG).

The PNG scheduled May 24 to June 2 in various Metro Manila venues, will offer 41 sports and possible slots to the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games in December and PSC chairman Richie Garcia said he is puzzled.

“I don’t see any reason why they won’t take part,” said Garcia yesterday after a press conference.

Garcia stressed that since the Abap is going to run the competitions, “the referees will do their best to make sure no one gets seriously hurt.”

Boxing has been classified as a priority sport and the Abap’s top boxers receive a monthly allowance of P40,000 from the PSC.

“If they’d don’t participate, they’ll lose their allowances. Even if they take part and don’t send their best, they’ll be held accountable,” said Garcia.

Garcia said Class A athletes like those in boxing “have to be ready to defend their status.”

The Abap, through its executive director Ed Picson, is asking the PSC the allow it to skip the PNG for fear that opposing boxers from the provinces might suffer serious injuries.

Picson said members of the national team train all-year round while those who will compete in the PNG don’t have the luxury of training under expert coaches employed by the Abap.

Picson remains hopeful that the PSC would reconsider its tough stance specially after he meets personally with Garcia.

“If they insist, wala talaga ako magagawa. I just want to let them know our position. I think they’re reasonable men. Hopefully, I can persuade them. Otherwise, we have no choice but to abide.”

Told about Picson’s plans to meet with him, Garcia said the PSC is standing firm in its decision. “No compromise.”