Setting up training camp in Thailand can work both ways for members of the Philippine boxing team gearing up for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi scheduled from May 12 to 23.
Ed Picson, president of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, said what’s important is that the 10-member national team is getting the kind of training they need for the biennial event.
Picson has discussed the matter with ABAP coaches, led by Australian Don Abnett, saying it wasn’t much of a concern to share camp with the Thais, still the biggest threat to the Filipinos in the SEA Games.
“If they can see us, we can see them,” Picson told the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, where he was joined by ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo on Tuesday.
“We looked at the cost and benefit of it. Ano ang mawawala, ang ano ang benefit? Besides, the Vietnamese boxers are also there training,” Picson told the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Unilever, Amelie Hotel Manila, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Manalo echoed Picson’s statements.
“The main factor why we decided to stay there is the quality of training. And at the end of the day, wala ka na din naman itatago (there’s nothing to hide). It’s how you execute in the ring,” he said.
Picson said they took the offer of the Thai boxing association for the Philippine squad to train there for the Thailand Open, where Rogen Ladon won the flyweight gold last month.
“The Thais have been very accommodating and generous. Isang request lang, binibigay nila agad,” said Picson.
He said the Filipino boxers are wrapping up their training in Thailand and will fly straight to Hanoi on May 13.
The boxing competitions in the SEA Games, where the Filipinos will try to defend the overall title after winning seven gold, three silver and two bronze medals in 2019 in Manila, will take place on May 15 to 22.
Leading the squad are Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio (women’s 60kg) and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial (men’s 75kg).
Olympian Irish Magno will vie in the 51kg class, while Ladon will compete at 49 kg. The other members of the team are Ian Clark Bautista (57kg), James Palicte (63kg) and Marjon Pianar (69kg) in the men’s division and Josie Gabuco (48kg), Riza Pasuit (57kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (75kg) in the women’s.
Picson did not issue any medal forecast.
“The expectations for (Philippine) boxing have always been high in the SEA Games. But we’re cautiously optimistic. We’re proceeding with a lot of enthusiasm and focus,” he said.