Second Overtime: Eumir Marcial leans on the Navarro family
By Homer D. Sayson
Fri, 14 May 2021
CHICAGO -- While preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Eumir Marcial is equally busy these days squealing about what he feels is the lack of support for his preparations.
With the fury of a thousand punches, he has been throwing sharp verbal jabs at the PSC and the ABAP. And the the latest installment arrived yesterday.
The middleweight boxer acknowledged receiving P43,000 a month in allowances from the PSC but he insists it's not enough.
"Kung ganyan ang supporta at mentality niyo, wag kayong maghangad ng gold sa Olympics," said Marcial who explained that the coast of team coaches, supplements, plane tickets, accommodations, etc, all amount to a small fortune.
A few days after Marcial arrived from Los Angeles last week to set up camp in his hometown of Zamboanga, he spoke to me on the phone and mentioned his pleas for help.
I walked away from that conversation with a crushed soul. I had hoped that the circumstances would change in the ensuing days.
It did. For the worse.
Look, I think highly of the PSC and the ABAP. Those organizations have done a lot of great work for our national athletes over the years.
But when it comes to conflicts such as this, I tend to err on the side of the athletes because the athlete often do not have the motive to lie while organizations are forever beholden to internal politics and vested interests.
I may be wrong here but I think the PSC and ABAP need to do much better on this case.
EVEN IF EUMIR IS ACTING LIKE A DIVA, HE HAS EARNED THAT STATUS.
He is a superstar who deserves extra special treatment. That's just how things work in sports. And lest we forget, he is our country's best hope to win an Olympic gold in this cycle of the Summer Games.
Excellence costs money, we need to pay for it. It's called an investment.
The Philippines infamously splurged P55 million for a damn cauldron during the 2019 SEA Games that we hosted. What's a few million bucks to provide Eumir with whatever he needs to pursue the highest individual achievement we as a nation have waited several lifetimes to capture?
While the tension is definitely a distraction for Eumir, I trust that he can put all this behind once he heads to Dubai for the Asian Championships beginning on May 24.
But I am comforted by the knowledge that the Navarro family has taken great care of Eumir since he landed in Zamboanga from the Wild Card gym.
"Pasalamat jud ko ni sir Junnie. Siya man akong gitawagan nga mouli ko para mag training diri. Mitando dayon siya." (I'm grateful for sir Junnie. I called him from L.A. to ask permission to use his gym and he said yes right away.)
What's in it for the Navarros?
Nothing. No hidden agenda.
"Gusto lang jud nila maka gold ko," (They just want me to win a gold medal), Marcial said, prepared to swear on a stack of bibles.
The family portrait of the Navarro family, who owns the Valientes basketball team.
Pillars of the community, the Navarros have long been supporting teams and athletes locally and nationally. The patriarch, the late Rolando Sr., was a huge backer of softball back in the day before sponsoring was fashionable.
Madame Cory, the family matriarch, has since carried the torch.
Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, told PhilBoxing.com he isn't worried with Eumir training away from the United States.
"He has a great set-up there and the gym the Navarros have is world-class."
The hope here is that the pit stop in his hometown will allow Eumir to recharge mentally and emotionally before he goes about with his mission in Japan.
A nations prays. May the force be with him.
The Navarro Gym in Zamboanga.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.
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