The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) admitted that it felt ‘taken aback’ by the statements of Eumir Marcial recently that he does not receive enough support on his way to the Tokyo Olympics.
“We were taken aback by his statements na wala raw suporta from the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and from ABAP, which is completely untrue,” ABAP secretary general Ed Picson said in Tuesday’s PSA Forum, which is powered by SMART and has Upstream Media as official webcast partner.
The middleweight sensation aired his sentiments in Radyo5’s Power and Play last Saturday and claimed that he isn’t getting the same assistance as the other Olympics bets, such as Hidilyn Diaz, Carlos Yulo, and EJ Obiena.
“Since nung umalis po ako, wala po akong natanggap na tulong galing po sa ating mga tumutulong sa sports … Never ako magsalita na sana about sa ganyan kasi gusto ko training lang ako papuntang Olympics. Pero any kind of support meron po ako — coaches po galing ABP — pero kung ‘yung support katulad ng mga qualified tulad nina Heidi, nina Carlos Yulo at EJ Obiena at iba pa, ako po wala po akong natatanggap,” said the 25-year-old.
Picson denied the allegations and insisted that the federation has always been supportive of the former AIBA Youth world champion. He even recalled instances where they tried to attend to his requests as much as they could.
“Nung mag-umpisa pa lang ang lockdown, humingi siya ng equipment sa akin. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Eumir, lockdown tayo e, mahirap magpa-deliver ng kuwan.’ Ngayon, sabi niya kung pwede padalhan siya sa bahay niya sa Cavite, sabi ko, ‘Sige, pero ‘pag na-lift ‘yung lockdown.’ Dun pa lang may lumabas na kaagad na mga posts — sa Facebook yata or somewhere, mga blog — na, ‘Ano ba naman yang ABAP, hindi man lang bigyan ng equipment.’ E lockdown nga e. Although he said, sinabi sa akin ni Eumir, ‘Ako sir makakalabas ako kasi military ako e. May kotse naman siya, sabi ko, ‘Ikaw, kung gusto mo ikaw na lang mag-pick up sa Taytay, nandun kasi ‘yung supplier natin.’ Merong nakahandang equipment doon. Sabi niya, ‘Sige.’ Pero after a few days, sabi niya, ‘Hindi sir, hintayin ko lang matapos ‘yung lockdown,'” Picson narrated in the webcast presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)
“So nung matapos ‘yung lockdown, pinadala ko, pinakuha ko kay Head Coach Pat Gaspi, personal na hinatid ni Coach Gaspi sa Cavite ‘yung mga equipment niya. So nung finollow up ko, sabi ko, ‘Asan na ‘yung equipment, Eumir?’ Sabi ko hindi ko nakikitang nagte-training ka. E sabi niya kasi yung dapat na gagamitin kong training, ‘yung [inaudible ng bahay ko, ginawa kong sala e, so wala na ‘kong mapaglagyan ng equipment. So sabi ko, ‘Okay, gawan natin ng paraan.’ Sabi ko, kung gusto mo, Coach Don [Abnett] offered to go to his house every day to train him, and he said yes, sige sir. So I told Coach Don and I said na I’ll pay for your transportation expenses to go to Cavite every day. And Coach Don tried to call and text him, he never replied,” he continued.
“And we had online trainings. He said mahina ang signal, we gave him a router. He’s the first one to receive a router, lahat nung mga boxer binigyan namin ng router from SMART. He never used it. He never trained a single day. So we were very disappointed.”
Picson also recalled that Marcial only notified ABAP that he was set to fly to the United States just the night before his trip — Marcial left late last year — although he clarified that both camps have always been communicating.
“He left for the U.S. Sinabi lang niya sa’kin the night before. Sabi niya, ‘Sir, alis na ‘ko bukas.’ So, communication-wise, meron e. It’s just that kung minsan, paiba-iba sinasabi niya.
“Actually, before he left in the States, sabi niya sa’kin, ‘Sir kung pwede lang ‘wag na muna tayo magsalita sa media kasi medyo nagkakaroon ng controversy.’ I said, ‘Fine.’ And we never did. Marami sa inyo (media) nagtatanong sa akin about him, I always refuse to comment or if I do siguro maikling-maikli lang. And I never said anything controversial. But iba ‘yung dumarating sa amin,” said Picson, also the COO of ABAP.
Marcial, just last week, returned to his hometown of Zamboanga City to resume his buildup for the Olympics. And the federation, according to Picson, immediately attended to his request for a coach by sending Gerson Nietes.
“When he came home from the States, biglaan, ‘di namin alam. Sabi niya, kailangan ko ng coach o binigyan namin, si Gerson Nietes which is his good friend. Alam ko yan. Kaya siya ang kinuha ko because he and Gerson Nietes are very good friends. And Gerson is a very competent coach. Coach Don has a lot of praise for Gerson because he’s a very fast learner and he’s young, and he gets along very well with Eumir Marcial,” he said.
Those are just some of the things ABAP has done to make sure that Marcial’s needs are being met, said Picson. But he’s worried for their prized athlete, that he may be hearing too many voices around him.
“So by and large, napakaraming–iba pa ‘yung mga personal naming tulong sa kanila … Meron naman kaming binibigay sa kanya. Ang problema lang talaga, medyo naguguluhan yata siya sa role niya as a professional and as a national athlete. We’ve been giving him advice, but then ang feeling ko maraming nagbibigay sa kanya ng advice e,” he opined.
At the end of the day, though, Picson and ABAP are still glad that Marcial has committed to rejoin the boxing national team in its Thailand camp after the ASBC Asian Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships in Dubai.
“We’re happy that he says he’s going to Thailand after Dubai, better than nothing, ‘di ba, and I hope he can really catch up.”