FIVE of the seven members of the PLDT-ABAP boxing team in the 2nd Taipei City Cup fought their way to the finals of the four-day tournament at the Taiwan Coliseum Friday.
Puerto Princesa native Maricris Igam's light flyweight bout against Madoka Wada was halted early in the second round when the Japanese boxer twisted a shoulder muscle after missing a haymaker and was unable to continue.
Igam was leading at the time of the stoppage, 5-4.
Her opponent in the Finals Saturday is Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Luong.
Thursday, Irish Magno had been first to bolt into the finals with her semi-final win in the flyweight division against Vietnam's Trinh Thi Dem Kieu.
She faces Pin Meng Chieh of Taipei for the gold medal in the 51 kg class.
In the men's division, 18-year-old Rogen Ladon led the Filipino onslaught in the semifinal round with a win over another Vietnamese, Huynh Ngoc Tan. The score was 11-6 in favor of the boy from Bago City, who will have Japan's Kenshiro Teraji contesting the championship against him.
Bukidnon's Mario Fernandez totally outclassed Taipei City's Lin Sheng Lin 19-5 in the bantamweight division (56 kg) to set up a championship match against Aboriginal Taiwanese Lin Yu Che.
Joel Bacho of Mandaluyong made it a clean semis sweep for the Filipinos with a demolition job against Su Chin-Fa, another aboriginal Taiwanese, 20-12. He faces a formidable opponent in the Finals, Japanese Syuchihiro Yoshino.
“We're obviously happy with the performance of our young first-timers. They are products of our grassroots development program. They're the ones I have been referring to as 'those potent discoveries in the pipeline'. Although by agreement, all the 12 countries in the tournament fielded their second team, we chose our young 18-20 year olds whom we feel would benefit from early exposure to international competition," said an ecstatic Ricky Vargas, ABAP president.
"We will continue to nurture them and their dreams,” he added.
The Philippine coaching staff in Taiwan is composed of Nolito Velasco, Romeo Brin and Violito Payla. Team manager is AIBA International Technical Official and Asian Women's Commission member Karina Picson.