Officials of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) refused to make bold predictions on their medal chances in the 31st Southeast Asian Games despite fielding a formidable lineup in Hanoi.

ABAP President Ed Picson said important factors such as the draw and the other countries’ lineups hinder them to make any forecasts even if the sport has been a source of gold mine in the biennial meet.

“Malaking barrier yung draw. If yung draw is favorable, then medal chances are higher. But as long as we don’t know, pati yung lineup ng ibang teams, we don’t want to predict,” Picson said during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum held online.

“While we are cautiously confident of our boxers, we don’t want to venture on saying how many medals we are going to win.”

Picson, however, noted Thailand as one of the strongest competitors in the meet, with Cambodia and Vietnam as darkhorse.

The country will send five male and five female in the meet with Tokyo Olympics medalists Eumir Marcial (75kg) and Nesthy Petecio (60kg) bannering the crew.

Other members of the squad are Rogen Ladon (52kg), Ian Clark Bautista (57kg), James Palicte (63kg), Marjon PiaƱar (69kg), former world champion Josie Gabuco (48kg), Tokyo Olympian Irish Magno (51kg), Riza Pasuit (57kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (75kg).

The team have been training in Bangkok, Thailand for the past month where they will directly leave for Hanoi on May 13.

Picson said training in Bangkok has its advantages and disadvantages.

“They (Thais) can see us; we can see them. It goes both ways. But we’d rather see them beforehand kesa doon sa tournament kami masorpresa,” said Picson.

ABAP secretary general Marcus Manalo agreed.

“At the end of the day, wala ka rin namang itatago. It’s how you execute during the competition that matters. And we’re confident of our boxers’ ability that they can execute,” Manalo said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (