IBA, ZAMBALES – Boxers from Rizal Technological University made a final pitch late Wednesday in the PLDT-ABAP National Capital Region-Luzon Area tournament by sending three more entries to the championship round at the Capitol Grounds here.
Porferio Aus Jr. started the ball rolling for RTU after scoring a second-round RSC (Referee Stopped Contest) against Arnold Delos Santos of Olongapo in the 48 kg. junior boys light-flyweight division.
Teammates Stephen Bontoyan and Jovan Krist Solimoro then followed suit. Bontoyan won by walkover against Michael Grospe of Tarlac in the 52 kg junior boys light-bantamweight, while Solimoro won by the same result over Pasig’s Richard Malig-on in the 56 kg boys bantamweight.
In all, RTU has a total of four boxers in the finals, the same number Tayabas, Quezon have after Jeric Ferrer stopped Clemen Balaois of Iba in the first round (RSC) in the 52 kg. junior boys light-bantamweight also on Wednesday.
Others advancing to the finals were Aldrin Tatunay of La Union, Charlie Foster of Sorsogon, Ryan Torres of San Fernando City, and local bet Melvin Jakaran.
Tatunay outpointed Jerome Labitag of Sorsogon, 7-5, in the 48 kg junior boys light-flyweight; Foster beat Jessie Bert Campos of Kabaka – coached by former Asian Games gold medalist Joan Tipon – 22-5, in the 49 kg boys light-flyweight; Torres defeated Reynard Sitenta of Zambales, 21-7, in the 49 kg. light-flyweight; and Jakaran overwhelmed Rommel Ibasco of Tayabas, 30-12, in the 56 kg boys bantamweight in what was easily the fight of the night.
The finals will have nine fights in all Thursday with Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. likely to join ABAP officials headed by executive director Ed Picson, and national coaches Pat Gaspi, Nolito Velasco Jr. and Mitchell Martinez during the event.
Among the prominent names vying for the gold in the last of three qualifiers for the nationals are Fernel Gaspi of Sorsogon in the 46 kg junior boys pinweight and RTU’s Mark Alex Brin in the 46 kg boys pinweight.
Gaspi is the nephew of the national coach Pat Gaspi while Brin is also the nephew of three-time Olympian and youth mentor Romeo Brin.
Also sending a number of boxers to the finals are teams from Sorsogon (3), Zambales (2), and San Fernando (2).
Incidentally, the Tayabas team is being managed by Tayabas, Quezon vice-mayor Venerando Rea, a certified ABAP referee-judge.
The winners here, along with the qualifiers from the other regional competitions – Bago City (Visayas) and General Santos City (Mindanao) - will do battle in the National Championship set on February 17-23 in Maasin, Southern Leyte.