MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is optimistic that Eumir Marcial can bring home a medal from the Tokyo Olympics.
Marcial, who will compete in the middleweight division, is among the country's brightest medal hopes in the upcoming Summer Games. He is currently in the United States, training for his maiden Olympic stint.
"Malaki ang potential niya para makasungkit ng gintong medalya sa Olympics," said Pacquiao of Marcial, who last year signed a contract with his MP Promotions outfit.
In his appearance on "Power and Play," Pacquiao said he has been giving Marcial some advice as he navigates his path to the Olympics as well as his professional career.
"Pinapayuhan ko nga siya na focus lang siya, huwag mag-kumpyansa palagi," said Pacquiao. "Saka na siya mag-kumpyansa pagkatapos ng Olympics."
"Kailangan 'yung focus niya, determination niya, andoon. At higit sa lahat, magtiwala sa Panginoon dahil Siya lang ang magbibigay sa atin ng tagumpay at lakas," he added.
Marcial qualified for the Tokyo Games after ruling the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in March 2020. But his build-up to the Olympics had been marred by a back-and-forth with his own federation, ABAP, over an alleged lack of support.
In May, he settled for a bronze medal in the 2021 Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships, after having been installed as the top seed.
He has since been training at the United States Olympic Boxing Training Center in Colorado Springs for the final phase of his preparation for the Olympics.
Aside from Marcial, 14 Filipino athletes are also assured of Olympic spots: boxers Irish Magno, Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio; weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando; pole vaulter EJ Obiena; gymnast Carlos Yulo; taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa; skateboarder Margielyn Didal; rower Cris Nievarez; shooter Jayson Valdez; golfer Juvic Pagunsan; track star Kristina Knott; and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe.
Pacquiao is hopeful that one of them will win the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in the Olympics.
"Ako'y nagdadasala palagi na sa wakas magkakaroon tayo ng gintong medalya sa Olympics. Kasi, sa tagal ng panahon, nangangarap tayo," he said.
"I'm hoping na this time around, makakuha tayo, makasungkit tayo ng gintong medalya para sa karangalan ng ating bansa," he added.