THE Philippine developmental boxing team went five for five in the Kuala Lumpur City Day Tournament on Wednesday at the Taman Titiwangsa Stadium in Malaysia.
Composed of fighters ranging from 17-20 years old, the PLDT-Abap Developmental Team reigned supreme in the 5-day invitational competition which drew boxers from Singapore, Qatar, Brunei, Hongkong, Philippines and host Malaysia.
Jade Bornea, a 17-year-old fighter who won the bronze medal in the World Youth Championships in Armenia late last year, scored a close 13-11 win over a wily 24-year-old Malaysian Air Force boxer Mohamad Shahril Razni in their 49 kg light-flyweight match.
Roldan Boncales,19, bucked a slight fever to upend Singaporean Mohamed Hanurdeen Hami, 20-9 in the 52 kg championships.
Lanky Jonas Bacho dominated his bantamweight (56 kg) final with Mohamed Ajmil Hamid, another Singapore bet, 15-8, fighting on after being accidentally hit by an elbow on his right bicep which immediately swelled and caused him much pain.
The eldest of the group, 20-year-old Nico Magliquian, won via countback in his lightweight bout against Abdulateef Mohamad Sadiq of Qatar after the fight ended with the score tied at 16. Three of the five judges gave the nod to the fighter from Mandaluyong.
2011 World Junior champion Eumir Felix Marcial, a gangling 52 kg fighter when he won the championship in Kazakhstan a year and a half ago, has now bulked up to the 64 kg light welterweight class and won gold over Wan Mohd Rizuan Wan Aziz.
In the semifinals on Tuesday, Marcial's opponent Effendy Kalai went down unconscious in the first round after a combination punctuated by a wicked right cross that caught him flush on the kisser. The Malaysian Navyman, whose mother traces her roots to Palawan, was out for more than two minutes before he regained consciousness. After a 24-hour observation period in the hospital, he was on hand to congratulate and take pictures with Marcial during the awarding ceremonies.
"You brought five boxers to KL, you bring home five golds to the Philippines. Your boys are good!" said Maj. Subramaniam Balasingam, a retired Malaysian Army officer who is now vice president of the Asian Boxing Confederation.
Team coaches were three-time Olympian Romeo Brin and former national boxer Elmer Pamisa, with Abap executive director Ed Picson as delegation head.
"We wanted to give them exposure for the upcoming ASBC Asian Youth Championships in Subic this March. But these boys are very determined. They know the competition in Subic is going to be much tougher. So they toughened up in KL. we're very happy for them especially because the Malaysian organizers gave them $1,000 each as cash incentive," said Abap president Ricky Vargas.