KUALA LUMPUR – All five boxers of the developmental team of the PLDT-ABAP Boxing Team made it to the finals of the Kuala Lumpur City Day boxing tournament.
The invitational tournament attracted 59 boxers from the host, Singapore, Qatar, Hong Kong, Brunei and the Philippines. The young Filipino boxers came here on the invitation of ASBC (Asian Boxing Confederation) vice-president Maj. Subramaniam Balasingam of Malaysia.
“We sent our young boxers to give them international exposure in preparation for our hosting of the Asian Youth Championships in Subic this March,” said Abap president Ricky Vargas.
Vargas, who is also president of Maynilad, said that although this was a relatively small invitational tournament, it was important that they get the feel of the international arena.
“They are all products of our grassroots development program that we started in 2009 when we took over. Late last year, they also had a bountiful harvest in the Taipei City Cup. In the World Youth Championships in Armenia in November, Jade Bornea snatched a bronze. And he only came into the pool April of 2012.”
In the KL meet, the 17-year-old Bornea reached the finals after a sensational one-round stoppage of Syarul Effendi Abd Aziz of Perak.
Neophyte Roldan Boncales, 19, a compatriot of Bornea from General Santos City, also won in the semifinals over another Malaysian, Mohd Hassan Zahari, by decision, 10-4.
Jonas Bacho of Mandaluyong, 18, avenging a heart-breaking close loss in Armenia, beat Singapore's Mohamed Solihin Nordin via RSC (referee stopped contest) in the second round.
Nico Magliquian, also fighting for only the second time internationally, had two RSC wins en route to the finals, the last one lasting barely a minute against the Malaysian Air Forces' Mohd Ismahafizi Abd Rahim.
2011 World Junior Champion Eumir Marcial was devastating in his second appearance here. He had previously stopped Nasurudin of Perak (Malaysia) in the second round of their fight. In Tuesday’s semis, it took the now-strapping 17-year-old lad from Zamboanga a while to get his bearings.
It looked like the Malaysian boxer from the Royal Navy was leading in the early going, but Marcial caught him with a wicked combination capped by a cracking right cross to the kisser that sent Effendi Kalai to the canvas unconscious.
The finals will see Bornea going up against Razni of the Royal Air Force, Boncales facing Hami of Singapore, Bacho fighting a Singaporean in Hamid, Magliquian going for gold against Qatar's Sadiq, and Marcial meeting Air Force man Wan Aziz.