By Jean Malanum

OPTIMISTIC. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Richard Bachmann (seated far right) with the Olympics-bound national boxing team during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday (June 11, 2024). The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is optimistic about the team’s campaign in Paris. (PSA photo) 

MANILA – The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is optimistic that its team going to the Paris Olympics can duplicate, if not surpass, the performance at the Tokyo Games.

ABAP secretary-general Marcus Jarwin Manalo said Nesthy Petecio (women’s 57kg), Aira Villegas (women’s 50kg), Hergie Bacyadan (women’s 75kg), Carlo Paalam (men’s 57kg) and Eumir Marcial (men’s 80kg) are medal contenders.

“These five who qualify, we feel have a very good chance to podium and to go all the way,” said Manalo, who joined the team in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the conference hall of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday.

“We’re very optimistic that this is really a strong five that we’re bringing (to the Paris Olympics),” he added.

Petecio and Paalam won silver medals while Marcial got a bronze at the Tokyo Games.

Alam kong hindi ganun kadali ngayon yung pag-dadaanan ko sa Paris especially iba siya sa Tokyo. Kasi sa Tokyo wala siyang exposure halos, walang laro, walang multi-training na ginawa. Ngayon open na. So hindi basta-basta gaya ng iniisip ng iba (I know that it will not be that easy for me to pass through Paris, especially since it is different from Tokyo. Because in Tokyo, there’s almost no exposure, no games, no multi-training was done. Now it’s open. So it’s not easy as others think),” said Petecio in the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, Smart/PLDT, and ArenaPlus, the leading sports entertainment gateway in the country.

Iba na yung level ng mga boxers ngayon. Kung may pinaka-maliit pa na butas ng karayom na pagdadaanan ko, mas maliit pa yung daan na gagawin ko dito (Today’s boxers are on a different level. If there is the tiniest hole of a needle for me to pass through, the path I will make through is even smaller),” added Petecio, who was accompanied by Villegas, Bacyadan, and coaches Don Abnett, Reynaldo Galido, and Ronald Chavez.

PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann dropped by the forum and wished the boxers well in their campaign in Paris.

The Philippine contingent, including the boxing team, will be leaving on June 22 for their month-long training in Metz, France.

The Filipino boxers, however, will go to Germany on August 1 for a multi-nation training camp with other Olympic qualifiers. (PNA)