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Sports

Brod Pete boosts boxers’ morale

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

When ABAP president Ricky Vargas and secretary-general Ed Picson opened the Zoom meeting with the Philippine boxing team about an hour before the Tokyo Olympics inaugural ceremony last Friday, a blank screen with MVP as ID appeared on everyones monitor. Could it be PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan? Picson masterminded the session as a morale booster, like a virtual pep rally and invited comedian Brod Pete to entertain the troops before battle. But he, too, wondered whom was the MVP attending.

Finally, the blank screen cleared and revealed Brod Pete claiming to be MVP or as he said, Mr. Vrod Pete. That broke the ice as the Zoom went boom with laughter. Picson and Brod Pete go a long way back during their DJ days so accepting the invitation to join the Zoom came spontaneously. “Para sa bayan,” said Pete. Boxers Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam were in stitches throughout the hour-long Zoom. Eumir Marcial couldnt attend as he was the Philippine delegations male flagbearer in the opening parade. Among others who attended were coaches Don Abnett, Ronald Chavez, Rey Galido and Elmer Pamisa, sports psychologist Marcus Manalo and nutritionist Jeaneth Aro. Another coach Boy Velasco joined Marcial in the parade.

Pete said hes been a boxing fan since the glory years of Rene Barrientos and Rolando Navarrete and recognized Galido as a former Olympian. In between jokes. Pete even sang a Rey Valera composition although the refrain was just a series of ay-ya-yays. He played a ukulele, too. On a serious note, Pete said the country is proud of the boxers and hailed them as the best of the best in the land. He spoke about fighting for the nation and the spirit of “kadakilaan.” Vargas said it was a perfect setting to settle the boxers for the coming wars. “We had a fun time,” he said. “All I asked is for our boxers to do their best, fight intelligently and with a lot of heart. Enjoy the experience. Theyre ready and well pray for their success.”

Picson said the Philippines wouldve been represented in the pool of referees/judges in Tokyo but three-star rated Cildo Evasco passed away last month. He was diagnosed with colon cancer last November. “Cildo was our best bet,” said Picson. “He was assigned in major competitions around the world and wouldve been in the cancelled world qualifiers in Paris.” Picsons wife Karina, however, is in Tokyo as an International Technical Official designated by the IOC Boxing Task Force which is supervising the tournament in place of the discredited AIBA. The IOC said boxing is on the brink of cancellation from the Olympic calendar because of charges of corruption and manipulation of results against AIBA and if the sport doesnt shape up in Tokyo, it will signal a death knell.

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