NESTHY Alcayde Petecio and the other seven boxing finalists from the Philippines ran and shadow boxed in the morning and had school combat and shadow boxed again in the afternoon before taking a needed rest Tuesday in preparation for the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games boxing finals at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 10.
The 23-year-old Petecio, born in Tuban, Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, fights Vietnamese Thi Bang Le for the women's women's bantamweight gold. But it won't be their first meeting, as both boxers already fought against each other in the Indonesia President's Cup where Petecio, a 2014 AibaWomens' World Boxing Championships silver medalist, emerged as the winner.
Yet, Petecio is not taking things lightly. Today's championship is not any other finals match for her as she has been chasing a SEA Games gold since 2011 in Indonesia then in Myanmar in 2013 where she came home with the silvers. In both instances, her losses were heartbreaking albeit controversial.
"Dili man jud mawala ang kakulba. Go for gold, mao na akong ginahunahuna (I will feel the nerves, it's just there but I'm just thinking of the gold now)," Petecio said in a Facebook interview with Sun.Star Davao on Tuesday, June 9.
She said the Vietnamese is also a tough opponent. "Kusog pud sya pero wala lang ko kabalo sa iyang rekord (She's also strong but I really don't know her record)."
Other Filipinos fighting for golds Wednesday, June 10, are Josie Gabuco, Irish Magno, Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, Junel Cantancio and Eumir Felix Marcial.
Defending champion Gabuco faces Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand in women's light flyweight, while Magno collides with Thi Yen Nguyen of Vietnam in women's flyweight and Ladon, a replacement of 2013 titlist Mark Anthony Barriga who was sidelined due to an injury, faces Kornelis Kwangu Langu of Indonesia in men's light flyweight.
Bautista, for his part, battles Mohamed Hamid of Singapore in men's flyweight while men's bantamweight defending champion Mario Fernandez's challenger is Tanes Ongjunta of Thailand. Lightweight Cantancio and welterweight Marcial are pitted against Van Hai Nguyen and Jia Wei Tay of Singapore, respectively.
Women's boxing coach Roel Velasco, in a separate chat, said they reviewed the fights of her women boxers' rivals. "Napanood na po namin mga video fights bago mag-ensayo. Ang kay Josie orthodox ang kalaban, kay Irish at Nesthy southpaw ang mga kalaban nila. Sinabi ko na rin ang gagawin nila sa bawat kalaban nila."
Men's boxing coach Nolito Velasco also said they also viewed the fights of the men boxers' opponents and held light training Tuesday. He also didn't want to make any prediction, saying: "Bukas nalang natin malalaman kung ilang ginto maipapanalo ng team. Ang masasabi ko lang ready na po ang mga boxers natin."
The national boxing team cornered three golds, two silvers and five bronzes in the Myanmar Games two years ago.
With eight boxers in the finals, the team is expected to surpass the 2013 SEA Games performance with more chances to win golds.