Quijano: ALA Boxing’s flagship fighters

IT’s ALL systems go for the first ever Pinoy Pride Card to be held in Dubai this Friday dubbed as “Duel in Dubai”.

Headlining this seminal moment for ALA Boxing will be Genesis Servania (24-0, 10KOs) who is set to trade leather with Mexican banger Jose Cabrera (22-4, 2, 10KOs.)

The last time Servania fought abroad, he gave us quite a scare as he tasted the canvas twice in round 1.

Maybe it was the butterflies in his stomach, or probably just the plain enormity of it all finally sinking in, but Servania looked stiff and tense when he fought Konosuke Tomiyama in Macau last year.

Consequently, he was knocked down twice, though, he also managed to score a knockdown of his own- all of this in a wild and wooly first round.

Let’s hope Genesis has learned his lesson and will box comfortably from the get-go.

FLAGSHIP FIGHTERS. It’s not uncommon for boxing fans to categorize and assess boxing stables based on the performance of its fighters.

Through the years, we have seen the evolution of ALA Boxing stable through the fighters that have proudly worn its colors.

A decade ago, after Manny Pacquiao ushered in Philippine boxing’s golden era, the search began for his next heir apparent.

Of course, right in the thick of things were the ALA gym fighters and during that time, one of its flagship fighters was Z Gorres.

I recall in 2007 when thousands of Cebuanos flocked to the Cebu City Sports Complex to watch Gorres- a stylish, southpaw defensive wizard, do battle with Mexican powerhouse Fernando Montiel.

I thought Z did enough to deserve the nod, but the verdict was a hotly disputed razor thin split decision in favor of Montiel.

Gorres would get stab at superstardom a year later, but he was again denied victory when his exciting bout with the visiting Vic Darchinyan ended in a split draw.

Of course, Donnie Nietes became a world champion in 2007 and infused gravitas to ALA boxing. He remains one to this day and is set to break Flash Elorde’s record with a defense of his WBO light flyweight crown tentatively set on November 15.

There were a lot of misses too. AJ “Bazooka” Banal was also given a chance at the ultimate prize in the fistic world and for 9 furious rounds, it seemed like he would bag it easily as he battered Panamanian Rafael Concepcion from pillar to post.

However, he succumbed to the frenetic pace he himself dictated and he collapsed dead tired and exhausted in round 10.

Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista was thrust into the limelight as Team Captain for the Philippines in the World Cup of Boxing back in 2007 but things didn’t work out well for him as got eviscerated in less than a round.

Both Bautista and Banal were given opportunities at a young age, but it may be the case that age would not have mattered because of the paucity of their overall skills.

Bautista was powerful but his defense was porous and he lacked fluidity in his movements. Banal was fast and strong, but lacked the punch resistance required of elite fighters.

Along with the talented Milan Melindo-another fighter ripe for another shot at a world title, Servania is the latest iteration of ALA Boxing’s dogged determination to produce another world champion.

He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, possesses decent speed and power, and is quite adaptable on defense.

He needs more miles on his odometer, definitely, but for now this is his moment in Dubai. Let’s wish him all the luck.

MY TAKE. I don’t know about you but I’m skeptical if our shorter point guards are going to win us games driving down the lane making layups in the ongoing FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The way to go is for our shooters to shoot the lights out of their opponents.

A case in point is team captain Jimmy Alapag who sowed terror in the hearts of the Argentineans by making four clutch 3-point shots in the fourth quarter that kept the game close.

The more plays we design to free up our shooters, the better our chances of winning will be. The pattern of driving down the lane and kicking it back out has become too predictable and will prove to be ruinous with our short guards being overwhelmed by their taller counterparts.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Atty. Eppie Bacalso and Jomari Gorne who are celebrating their birthdays this week. Cheers! (jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)


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