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NEW ABAP TEAM: OUT OF THE GATE RUNNING


PhilBoxing.com




Cebu City – The goal is an Olympic gold medal in boxing for the Philippines in 2012 and beyond and the new Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) management team seems to be in a hurry to accomplish the task.

The new set of officers headed by Manny Pangilinan, chairman, Ricky Vargas, president and Patrick Gregorio, secretary-general, officially took over last January 1 from the under-achiever team of Manny Lopez who came out empty-handed during the last three Olympics.

The first working day of the new year however did not start until Monday, Jan. 5. By the evening of Jan. 8, 4 days later, Ricky Vargas and 'Pato' Gregorio had already traveled hundreds of miles in the Philippines criss-crossing the archipelago to take inventory of the available talents and talking with potential supporters in the amateur and professional ranks in the cities of Baguio, Taguig, Davao and Cebu.

It helped that the new officers are also the top executives of the giant Philippine telecommunication network PLDT and Smart. The group traveled in style on a private plane to their destinations and their accommodation and schedules were being assisted by local officers of the giant communications company.

Thursday's stop in Cebu brought the team to the ALA Gym of Antonio L. Aldeguer and the Salud Gym of boxing impresario Wakee Salud and ended in a dinner with the Cebu media at the high-end Pino Restaurant in Lahug.

The group flies to Bacolod the following day before going back to Manila to prepare for the boxing activities scheduled on Jan. 16 to 24 back in Bacolod where the Smart-ABAP National Amateur Boxing Championship gets underway followed by a boxing congress.

None of the top three new officers of ABAP were previously involved in boxing but are highly successful corporate people. This could be positive or negative depending on which way you look at the equation. On a positive note, this will surely bring new blood, new perspective and new approaches to the Philippine amateur boxing program. On the negative, the new officers may stumble upon the intricacies of the sometimes sleazy and corrupt wheeling and dealing that is happening within the amateur ranks in the country and elsewhere.

“We think out of the box,” Gregorio would say. “For example, we've been told to get wary of the promoters because they will only steal the amateurs that we develop and turn them into professionals. But we do not think like that. We think there are many areas where we can work together and help each other. At the end of the day, like every Filipino, they also want a gold medal in the Olympics and they want to see our program succeed.”

Only time will tell how successful the new team will be by taking over the reigns of the country's amateur boxing program, but from the outset, right at the opening gate, they sure are already running.

Top photo: Newly elected ABAP president Ricky Vargas (C) answers questions from Cebu media Thursday evening at Pino Restaurant in Cebu City.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.


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