THE Fab Five of the PLDT-ABAP national youth team are raring to rumble with the best of Asia two days before hostilities break out in the 2013 ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships at the Subic gym in this coastal municipality of Zambales.
James Palicte (60 kgs), Jade Bornea (49 kgs.), Ian Clark Bautista (52 kgs), Jonas Bacho (56 kgs), and Eumir Felix Marcial (64 kgs) will carry the colors for the Philippines in the tournament backed by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, PLDT, Smart, NLEX, Maynilad, Clarktel, Subictel, Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Videogear Inc., Exile Lights and Sound, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Twenty-six countries, including China, the Middle Eastern bloc, and satellites of the former Soviet Republic, are sending the future of their respective national teams, 17-18 year-old boxers who are expected to make their mark in the tourney prior to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Kore and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“They’re all products of our extensive grassroots development program,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas. “Most of them also have had foreign exposure and so I’m fairly optimistic they will do well against their counterparts in the region.”
Bornea was a bronze medalist in last December’s World Youth Boxing Championship in Armenia, while Marcial won the gold in the World Junior Championship in Azerbaijan in 2011.
Bautista brought home the silver medal in the President’s Cup in Jakarta two years ago, Bacho was with the national boxing team which bagged five gold medals in the Kuala Lumpur City Day Tournament early this year, while Palicte wowed the judges during the PLDT-ABAP Visayas Area competition last year.