THE Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines punched its way to the honor roll of the SMC-Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards Night, claiming the title National Sports Association of the Year.
Led by Nesthy Petecio, Filipino pugs stamped their class everywhere in 2019 which saw them winning gold medals from the Asian to the world level.
The feat earned for ABAP yet another NSA of the Year award from the country’s oldest media organization, which will honor and recognize top sports personalities and entities during its annual gala night on March 6 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
Team Philippines will be awarded the coveted Athlete of the Year honor in the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, Milo, Cignal TV, the Philippine Basketball Association, AirAsia, and Rain or Shine.
Petecio, 27, stood at the forefront of ABAP’s successful campaign, scoring a breakthrough gold medal in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia after beating hometown bet Liudmila Vorontsova by split decision in the featherweight division.
Felix Eumir Marcial fell short of matching Petecio’s gold medal feat as he settled for a silver medal in the same world tournament for men in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The 24-year-old from Lunzuran, Zamboanga City became just the third Filipino to finish runner-up in the prestigious event after light-flyweight Roel Velasco (1997) and Harry Tanamor (2007).
Not to be left out was former world champion Josie Gabuco. The 32-year-old veteran returned home with the gold in the Asian Boxing Confederation Elite Boxing Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, defeating North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the finals of the women’s light-flyweight category.
Before Petecio, Gabuco reigned as AIBA world women’s champion back in 2012.
The three later bannered the Filipinos’ productive stint in the 30th Southeast Asian Games where the Philippine boxing team emerged as overall champion.
Petecio, Gabuco, and Marcial all won gold medals as the national team beat perennial rival Thailand for the overall title in the event. The Philippine team failed to win a medal in just one of the 13 boxing events disputed in the SEA Games.
Like in the world meet, the gold Petecio won was her first in the biennial meet after previously ending up with a silver medal from 2011 to 2015.
For Marcial, it was his third SEA Games gold medal, while Gabuco now has a record five gold medals to her credit.