MANILA, Philippines - Members of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) remain confident of their medal chances in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, even as the country's boxing veterans had to be replaced by neophytes in the campaign.
Injured veterans Joan Tipon and Rolando Tacuyan had to be replaced by newbies Junel Cantacio and Dennis Galvan.
But the boxing team's head coach, Pat Gaspi, does not believe this will affect the country's chances of winning medals.
"Like their old teammates, both Junel and Dennis are 100%," Gaspi told PhilBoxing.com. "(They) are able replacements for Joan, who has been complaining of a recurring shoulder injury and Tacuyan, who has yet to recover from his bout with flu."
Cantacio and Galvan will join light-flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga, flyweight Rey Saludar, featherweight Charly Suarez and welterweight Delfin Boholst.
The women's team features two gold medalists from the 2009 SEA Games -- pinweight Josie Gabuco and light-flyweight Alice Appari.
"Suarez, Gabuco and Appari, I believe, are experienced enough to repeat their Laos wins, while Cantancio and Galvan, although first-timers sa SEA Games, have been in a few international competitions where they had made their marks," Gaspi said.
Gaspi added that the team is aiming to better the 2009 squad's medal haul in Laos, which included 5 golds, 1 silver and 3 bronzes.
The team will also be missing other veterans due to retirement, including Bill Vicera, former Olympian Harry Tanamor, and Mitchel Martinez.
"Sa tingin nga parang nabawasan ng lakas because of the non-inclusion of the other Laos medallists, pero mas bumata ang team at siyempre, natakpan yung nawala," Gaspi said.