By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Officials of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) won’t make any predictions on their medal chances in the 31st Southeast Asian Games despite fielding a formidable lineup in Hanoi.
ABAP President Ed Picson said important factors such as the draw and the other countries’ lineups have restricted them from making any forecasts although boxing has been a great source of pride in the past editions of the biennial meet.
Even in the 2020 Tokyo Games, boxing produced two silvers – courtesy of Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio – and a bronze through the celebrated Eumir Marcial.
“Malaking barrier yung draw. If yung draw is favorable, then medal chances are higher. But as long as we don’t know, pati yung lineup ng ibang teams, we don’t want to predict,” Picson said during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum held online.
“While we are cautiously confident of our boxers, we don’t want to venture on saying how many medals we are going to win.”
Picson, however, noted Thailand poses a huge stumbling block in their title repeat bid with Cambodia and Vietnam as dark horses.
The country will send five male and five female in the meet, including Marcial (75kg) and Petecio (60kg).
Other members of the squad are Rogen Ladon (52kg), Ian Clark Bautista (57kg), James Palicte (63kg), Marjon Piañar (69kg), former world champion Josie Gabuco (48kg), Tokyo Olympian Irish Magno (51kg), Riza Pasuit (57kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (75kg).
The team have been training in Bangkok, Thailand for the past month where they will directly leave for Hanoi on May 13.
Picson said training in Bangkok has its advantages and disadvantages.
“They (Thais) can see us; we can see them. It goes both ways. But we’d rather see them beforehand kesa doon sa tournament kami masorpresa,” said Picson.
ABAP Secretary-General Marcus Manalo readily agreed.
“At the end of the day, wala ka rin namang itatago. It’s how you execute during the competition that matters. And we’re confident of our boxers’ ability that they can execute,” Manalo said.