The Philippines’ second-place finish in Southeast Asian Games boxing in Kuala Lumpur should be considered respectable, despite the Filipinos winning only two gold medals, according to fight analyst Dennis Principe.
Principe said the Philippine team that fought in Malaysia faced a different scenario compared to the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, where the Filipinos won the overall championship with 5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals.
“For me, na-meet nila ang expectations despite only winning 2 golds. Because for one, walang women's boxing sa Kuala Lumpur. Noong nakaraan meron,” Principe said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
He added that Malaysia also took out the under-60-kilogram weight class, where Charly Suarez could have fared better.
Principe said the Philippines should have won a third gold if not for the questionable decision loss by Suarez to eventual champion Wuttichai Masuk in the semifinals of the light welterweight class.
“I thought he won the semifinals match, itong si Charly Suarez. It could have been 3 gold medals,” he said.
Eumir Felix Marcial and Fil-English fighter John Marvin won a gold each in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, respectively, helping the Philippines finish a close second behind Thailand, which had one more silver than the Filipinos.
Mario Fernandez grabbed a silver in the bantamweight class, while Ian Clark Bautista and Suarez each got a bronze in the flyweight and light-welterweight divisions.
Principe said that, with his height and ring prowess, Marcial proved to be unbeatable among Southeast Asian middleweight fighters. Marcial was so good that he managed to win the gold despite fighting with an injured left hand.
The 6-foot-1 Marvin, on the other hand, is a gem that needs to be polished, Principe said.
The Fil-English brawled his way to a gold, stopping his Malaysian foe in just 21 seconds into his bout.
“If only he can instill iyong maturity and use his flashes of being a tactical fighter I think he can be a potential world beater,” Principe said.
“Kasi may tapang, may determination, he can take a punch, so dapat gamitan niya ng maturity at talino. Those are the ingredients na kulang siya. If he can add that to whatever he has right now, then it’s sky’s the limit for him.”
Now that the team’s campaign in SEA Games is over, Principe said it’s time for the boxers to set their sights on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“The time is now for them to focus on that. Even if it means them campaigning and entering tournaments that would mean defeat, tough fights for them,” Principe said.
“They should not think about suffering losses along the way if it makes them better fighters come 2020.”
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)