DIGOS CITY , Philippines – Team Pacman survived a late flurry from Cagayan de Oro to clinch the overall title in the PLDT-ABAP National Amateur Boxing Championships here.
With six gold medals on top of three silvers and eight bronzes, Team Pacman will get to present the shining trophy to its chief benefactor, boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
The CDO bets will bring home five gold, one silver and four bronze medals from the five-day tournament that drew 104 of the country’s youngest amateurs.
Cebu, which has a solid grassroots program in boxing, bagged three golds and two bronzes while Bago City, also a steady source of talent, had two golds, three silvers and a bronze.
Local fight fans trooped the old Digos City Stadium to watch male and female boxers aged 14 to 18 years in action Sunday, and in the hope of seeing future Pacquiaos.
As a young and hungry amateur, Pacquiao, who hails from nearby General Santos City, fought a number of times in this quiet and laid-back city.
It’s just one of many reasons why the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines brought the national championships here.
“We have pledged to cast the net farther in our search for fresh boxing talent,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas who came to watch some of the action.
“That is why aside from the big cities we brought our tournaments to such places as Infanta, Ormoc, Maasin, Tagbilaran and Panabo,” he added.
It was Pacquiao himself who suggested to ABAP to bring the championships to Digos. In return, the fighting congressman from Sarangani helped shoulder the expenses.
“These are the places we like to go to create more awareness for our grassroots development program,” added the ABAP president.
Ruling their respective divisions and catching the eyes of the ABAP coaches were Rennieboy Ferraren, Pitt Laaurente, Gaidyl Reducto, Carlo Paalam, Jericho Sahohito, Kit Ceron Garces, Mario Bautista, Mario Jaga, Gil Napoles, Jean Minguillan, Angelica Dadole, Shera Mae Jacinto, Ryan Moreno, John Paul Ventoso, Junnrel Jimenez, Jorge Edusma, Sugar Ray Ocana and Grace Ganton.