DESPITE already in the professional ranks, Filipino boxer Charly Suarez still agreed to join the Philippine boxing team that will compete in the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year.
The Davao del Norte native Suarez said being invited to the national men’s boxing team was an opportunity that’s too difficult to pass up that he immediately join the squad’s practice.
“Kung ano ‘yung opportunity na ibinibigay or ibigay sa atin, i-grab natin ‘yan kasi hindi na ‘yun maibabalik,” said the 31-year-old Suarez, who has already three professional fights (3-0, 3 KOs).
Delfin Boholst, who also acts as coach and manager of Suarez, said it was Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson who suggested Suarez still has what it takes to be with the national team.
“Nag-usap kami and sinabi ko kunin natin kasi sayang yan. Bihira ‘yung pagkakataon na ganyan,” recalled former national team member Boholst on his conversation with Picson.
“Natutuwa ako kasi Pilipinas ang dinadala natin diyan. Masarap na winawagayway mo ‘yung bandila ng Pilipinas,” he added. “I am supporting his national team return 100 percent.”
A silver medalist in the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, this will be Suarez’s fourth SEA Games stint. He won three straight medals from 2009 (Laos), 2011 (Jakarta), and 2015 (Singapore) respectively, but only settled for a bronze in the last edition of the biennial meet in Kuala Lumpur two years ago when he went up in weight.
Suarez, who will revert back to lightweight division in SEA Games, becomes the first Filipino pro-boxer to compete for the Philippine team since open boxing was first allowed in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
Suarez said he counts on the Philippines’ old rival Thailand as its toughest opponent for overall supremacy in the sport, although anyone is capable of pulling an upset.
“Usually Thailand, pero marami pang nag–e-excel na ibang mga bansa,” he said. “Sa boxing kasi kahit yung kalaban mo taga-Myanmar o anuman yan, huwag kang magkumpiyansa kasi gloves ‘yan. At tsaka lahat ng atletang nagku-kumpiyansa, doon nadadale.”
Twelve teams are set to compete in the National Basketball Training Center League Guimaras, which will kick off this Nov. 2, 201 at the Nueva Valencia Covered Gym in Guimaras.
Among the competing schools were Trinidad V Canja-Sta. Teresa National High School, Good Shepherd’s Fold Inc., Buenavista National High School, Philippine College of Business and Accountancy, Nueva Valencia National High School, Simeon J. Jabasa National High School, Dr. Catalino G. Nava National High School, Jordan National High School, Agsanayan National High School, East Valencia National High School, Cabalagnan National High School, and St. Joseph School Hijas de Jesus.
Commissioner Richard Gabayoyo said this will be the third year that NBTC holds a qualifying leg in Guimaras and the 12 teams were the most after starting with just six teams in 2016.
The opening ceremony will be star-studded with the presence of Gov. Samuel Gumarin, Mayor Emmanuel Galila of Nueva Valencia, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president of Nueva Valencia Jam Parcon and municipal sports coordinator of Nueva Valencia Loren Gallarda.
The champion team in the qualifier will represent Guimaras in the regional finals at Ibajay, Aklan next year. The NBTC Guimaras qualifier was presented by Chooks To Go and SM Malls./PN