A former sportscaster, Picson was the president of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines when he passed away recently due to a lingering illness.
After his broadcasting career, Picson was named Abap secretary general in 2009. He was described by Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino as a “hardworking person in boxing.”
“Sir Ed Picson, kahit wala na siya, inaalay namin ito. Para sa kanya ang laban namin at para sa Picson family,” said Nesthy Petecio, silver medalist in the Tokyo Olympics under Picson’s leadership and one of the contenders for the gold medal in the SEA Games.
“Sir Ed Picson, kahit wala na siya, inaalay namin ito. Para sa kanya ang laban namin,” said Nesthy Petecio, one of the contenders for the gold medal.
Two-time SEA Games champion Rogen Ladon and Tokyo Olympian Irish Magno will lead the Philippines’ quest on Saturday at the Chroy Changvar Convention Center.
Ladon, who won gold medals in the 2019 Philippine and 2022 Vietnam Games, starts the country’s bid for a golden rush at 4 p.m. when he fights Tharanat Saengphet of Thailand in the men’s flyweight championship.
Magno is up against a familiar foe – Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand – in the women’s lightweight finals, having prevailed when they clashed for the gold in the 2019 games back home. But the Thai beat her during the round-of-16 in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Also fighting on Saturday are Ian Clark Bautista, who is also hoping to become a three-time SEA Games medalist, and Riza Pasuit, who battles Vietnamese Thi Linh Ha in the women’s lightweight finals.
“I really have to give my all to bring home the gold,” said Bautista, 28, of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, who is up against Indonesian Asri Udin in the men’s featherweight gold medal round.
Bautista went on a strict diet to keep himself in top shape and jokingly said: “Even water tastes very good to me (now).”
With nine finalists, the boxing team looks very capable of surpassing the country’s three-gold, one-silver and five-bronze medal finish last year in Vietnam.
ABAP secretary-general Marcus Jarwin Manalo expressed high hopes the nine would perform well but said scoring a sweep would definitely be a difficult task.
“Obviously, it will be a tougher competition in the finals. We just hope we can execute the fight plan and finish strong,” Manalo said. “We can hope, but sweeping the final matches is not realistic, considering the level of competition.”
Fighting on Sunday are Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam, fellow Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Petecio, Paul Julyfer Bascon, Fil-British John Marvin, and Petecio’s younger brother, Norlan.
Paalam eyes the gold in the bantamweight class against Aldoms Siguru of Indonesia, with the Pinoy pug out to become a two-division gold medalist in the SEA Games, having won the flyweight gold in 2019.
Nesthy, 31, shoots for redemption after a frustrating bronze finish in the last Hanoi games when she squares off with Indonesian Ratna Sari Devi in the women’s featherweight finale.
Bascon takes on Rujakran Juntrong of Thailand in the men’s light welterweight finals while Norlan, 21, takes on another Thai, Bunjong Sinsiri, in the men’s lightweight championship.
Marvin, the 2017 SEA Games gold medalist, faces Weerapon Jongjoho of Thailand in the men’s light heavyweight finals.
Of the 12 Pinoy boxers here, only light flyweight Mark Lester Durens and welterweight James Palicte will not return home with a medal.
Markus Cezar Tongco, who lost to Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam in the men’s heavyweight semifinals, bagged a bronze medal.