21 teams join boxing cup in Sorsogon

By Lito Delos Reyes

SORSOGON CITY – Twenty-one teams with almost 100 boxers are seeing action in the Luzon preliminaries of the on-going PSC-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup, which started Saturday at the Sorsogon National High School covered courts here.

The participating teams early top-favorites are Mandaluyong City, Baguio City, Olongapo City, Binan City in Laguna, La Union, Legaspi City, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Tayabas Quezon,Tuguegarao City, Iriga City, Cadlan-Pili, Libon-Albay, Cambulaga, Castilla, Gubat, Bulan, Prieto Diaz, Barcelona, Sorsogon City and host Sorsogon Province.

The formal opening program was followed by the first eight bouts of the two-day event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission in coordination with the Office of Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Governor Robert “Bobet” Lee Rodrigueza, Mayor Salle Lee and PSC Executive Director Sannah Frivaldo gave their inspirational messages after Vice Mayor Jonathan Balintong welcomed the teams and guests.

“We could have gathered more than a hundred boxers if only the other teams were allowed by the DepEd to join this tournament,” said Supervising Tournament Director Rogelio Fortaleza.

The city’s officer-in-charge supervisor of the Department of Education here is preventing their students from joining the competition because of the coming Palarong Pambansa qualifier in the Bicol Region.

Sorsogon City coach Manuel “Jun,” Sentes said his boxers were not allowed by DepEd City OIC Superintendent Nimfa Juema to prepare them for the upcoming Palarong Bicol set on Feb. 4 to 10 in Naga City.

“But we still have one week to rest after this one,” said Sentes.

Out of the five boxers, only two were left from the Sorsogon City team. They were Sente’s grandson Sean Paul Sentes (54 kg.) and Elmer Marbella (47 kg.), whose parents insisted to allow their sons to join the nationwide grassroots developmental program.

They were later joined by the Barbarian brothers Judah and Napthali, who were also residents of Sorsogon City in the team during the final screening and distribution of identification cards and free mattresses at the Sorsogon Provincial Gym last Friday.

The boxers and coaches will also receive free meal allowance and transportation from the PSC.

Aside from the cash prizes and medals, the winners of this tournament will get a chance to become part of the national training pool.

“I really wanted all my boxers to join this event since it is a good exposure and tune-up for them for the Palarong Bicol,” said Sentes.

Sorsogon Province, which is hosting the two-day event, has been allowed by its DepEd Division Superintendent Loida Nidea to join the event.

“I only explained to DepEd how really very important for us to join this kind of event,” said Sorsogon Province Coach Salvador Castillo, who is also a public high school teacher.

He added, “We really lack exposure and competition. This can really help them develop their skills and stamina.”

Team Sorsogon Province of Gov. Robert “Bobet” Lee Rodrigueza has six boxers including Renzo Ruiz Abayon, C-Jay Ejera, Clander Erestain, RG Erestain, Albert Hagad, Kenneth Hamto and Rammel Olicia.

Supervising tournament director Rogelio Fortaleza, a former national boxer-coach, had earlier informed DepEd to allow their students to join the event as part of their test to know if they were really prepared for the Palarong Bicol.

“It can even help these young boxers know how prepared they are already. This will be a good tune up for them. So that they will know what needs to be improved on them in case,” said Fortaleza.

Meanwhile, the preliminaries for the Visayas Region will be held in Bago City, Negros Occidental on Feb. 3 and 4 while the quarter finals of Luzon is slated on Feb. 17 and 18 tentatively in Binan, Laguna.

“It’s 80 percent sure in Binan. But we will formally announce it sooner,” said Fortaleza.

The Visayas Quarter Finals is set on Feb. 24 and 25 but the final venue has not yet been confirmed.

The other changes to the schedule are the national finals.

“We need to have a week rest or break to also re-charge our officials and teams after the Luzon Finals,” explained Fortaleza.

After the Luzon Finals in Baguio on April 7, the National Preliminaries will be held on April 21 and 23 in Mandaluyong City.

The National Quarter Finals is on April 28 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol while the National Semi-Finals is on May 5 in Tagum City.

The National Finals will be held on May 12 in Sarangani Province of Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

The other remaining schedules are:

MINDANAO - Quarter Finals on Feb. 10-11 in Kidapawan City; Semi-Finals on March 3 in Cagayan de Oro City; Finals on March 25 in Davao City

VISAYAS – Semi-Finals on March 10 in San Jose, Antique; Finals on March 31 in Maasin City

LUZON – Semi-finals on March 17 in Lingayen, Pangasinan; Finals on April 7 in Baguio City. (PNA)