ABAP Needs New Vision, Direction

As the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) embarks on a program aimed at rebuilding its tattered image, a personage from Cebu said yesterday that the embattled association should reach out to the other sectors of the sport.

Boxing patron Tony Aldeguer, whose boxing factory in the Queen City has produced many of the country's ring talents, said "maybe the ABAP should hold a forum and listen to what some knowledgeable people in boxing have to say whether favorably or critically."

Despite enjoying huge financial support from Smart and PLDT big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, the association could only send one 'qualifier'- lightflyweight Mark Anthony Barriga - to the London Olympics.

Barriga, the country's brightest hope for a medal, could not make it past the round-of-16.

Aldeguer began his involvement with boxing during the 1980s and his first major product was Gerry Penalosa, who decided to turn professional after being given the raw end of the deal during the National Open.

Aldeguer said he is certain that by gathering all the boxing bigwigs, the ABAP would know the real score.

"No harm in listening. It's up to them to adapt or ignore but I am sure they'll stumble on some good advices not only in boxing but in all the other sports."

Aldeguer, who disbanded his amateur program after the Penalosa fiasco and put up a stable and the promotional out ALA Boxing Club, said the real problem hasn't quite been addressed.

"(There's) too much politics and palabas," said Aldeguer.

Even before the Olympics began, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) had made it known that it will not hesitate to fund the hiring of a full-time foreign coach.

The ABAP said it is also focusing in the same direction but will only go as far as tapping a foreign consultant who will visit the country three or four times a year to check on the progress of the fighters.

It was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that the Philippines last got a medal -a silver- courtesy of light-fly Onyok Velasco.

For a country that has four world champions and somebody like Manny Pacquiao in its midst, it's bizarre that it continues to languish in the Olympic stage.

No wonder, even Pacquiao wondered why Barriga was the country's only fighter in London .

Medal Count

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 46 29 29 104
2 China 38 27 23 88
3 Great Britain 29 17 19 65
4 Russia 24 26 32 82
5 South Korea 13 8 7 28
6 Germany 11 19 14 44
7 France 11 11 12 34
86 Philippines 0 0 0 0

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