Boxing officials see promise in new discoveries

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 19 2012 04:47 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2012 12:47 AM

GENERAL SANTOS CITY , Philippines – The 2012 PLDT-ABAP Mindanao Boxing Championships came to a close last night with a few good boxers showing that they can make it to the national team.

A total of 13 gold medal bouts were held at the GSC Gymnasium. In the end, officials of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines said they got what they came for.

“This place is a nest for excellent boxers. And we were right in bringing this tournament here. We saw a lot of potential,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson.

General Santos City has produced world champions like Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire Jr., Marvin Sonsona and Rolando Navarette.

Among those who caught the eye of national team coaches Pat Gaspi and Boy Velasco were Junior boys’ bantamweight Mark Andy Austria, Youth boys’ pinweight Bicyle Gabriel, Youth boys’ light-fly Samboy Lao and Youth boys’ lightweight Marvilo Aballe, all gold medal winners here.

Austria and Gabriel come from Davao del Norte, which won six of the 13 golds staked in this six-day tournament for fighters from Mindanao.

Others who won the gold were Junior boys’ pinweight Reymark Ibones of General Santos B, Junior boys’ light-fly Dannel Maamo of Misamis Oriental, Junior boys’ flyweight Michael Jhon Bahena of Davao del Norte, Junior boys’ bantam Angelou Plania of General Santos A, Junior girls’ pinweight Alexcel Dargantes of General Santos A, Junior girls’ flyweight Nelia Uba of Davao del Norte, Youth boys’ flyweight Philip Jay Verador of Davao del Norte, Youth boys’ bantam Jeson Umbal of Camiguin, and Youth girls’ light-fly Beverly Casero of Misamis Oriental.

Still, it was 15-year-old Jonel Dapidran of Sarangani, who lost to Davao del Norte Youth boys’ lightweight Marvilo Aballe during Saturday’s semis, who really drew much of the attention.

Dapidran is the second cousin of Pacquiao. He was impressive in his opening bout here, but had difficulty in the semis because he had to fight with a swollen left eye.

“We will invite him to the national team. He has the potential to make it. He’s still young and lacking in experience, but with the proper guidance he can make it,” said Picson.

After last month’s Visayas leg in Bacolod, the tournament resumes with the Luzon leg in February with all gold medalists advancing to the national finals in Maasin, Leyte in February.