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ABAP boxers, coaches welcome new leader in Baguio City camp

WIN the Olympic gold.

Deputy Speaker Robbie Puno has this as his ultimate objective when he was formally introduced to the national team as the new Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president after succeeding the late Ed Picson.

“Our goal is to make it to the Olympics via the Asian qualifying events, and win the gold in Paris,” said Mr. Puno.

Mr. Puno, who is concurrent vice chair of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and an instrumental figure in the passage of House bills that naturalized Marcus Douthit, Andray Blatche, Angelo Kouame and Justin Brownlee, was introduced by Ricky Vargas, a former ABAP chief himself.

Tokyo Games silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam were also in attendance along with national coach Pat Gaspi, ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo and executive assistant to the president Karina Picson.

Mr. Puno’s wife, Chiqui Roa-Puno, a former legislator and television host, and son, Nick, were also present.

Mr. Puno said he is a big fan of Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao.

“I’ve loved watching Ali since and, of course, I’ve also been a fan of our very own Manny Pacquiao,” he said.

Mr. Puno then joined by Mr. Vargas, MVP Sports Foundation officials Jude Turcuato, Maita David and Art Aro in handing over incentives to boxing medalists in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh. The Philippines took home four gold medals, five silvers and one bronze.

Mr. Vargas, also the chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association and vice president of SBP, provided some explanation for Mr. Puno’s appointment.

Mr. Vargas spoke of the Olympic Games next year as being on its “fourth cycle” since 2009 when ABAP calculated it would take that much time before it strikes gold. — Joey Villar

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