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Ramirez backs Vargas

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But new program, coaches needed, says PSC chief.

A leadership change over at the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines is not necessary following the dismal performance of the two boxers in the Rio Olympics, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said.

While admitting that the failure to deliver in Rio was utterly devastating, PSC chairman Butch Ramirez insists that ABAP president Ricky Vargas deserves to stay provided that drastic changes are met.

“They have to reset the program and make changes in the coaching staff,” said Ramirez, who was saddened by light-flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Chary Suarez’s early exit.

“Ricky Vargas is a good leader and he doesn’t have to step down as ABAP head as long as they make major adjustments,” said Ramirez, who had high hopes that the ABAP would deliver.

“It’s been a very long time since boxing won a medal,” added Ramirez, aware that Vargas’ main backer, Manny V. Pangilinan’s PLDT-Smart, had never been remiss in its duty to fund the overseas training and foreign exposure of the ballyhooed boxing team the last eight years.

Last week, less than a day after Ladon got eliminated, Vargas came out with a statement calling for a change in the set of officers of the Abap, announcing that an election be held the soonest possible time.

Initially, Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s name was mentioned as viable replacement and the boxing legend didn’t mince any words when told that he was being considered to carry the torch, saying he likes the idea of taking over.

A meeting between Vargas and Pacquiao is being planned so the two can determine what should be done to restore boxing’s luster.

However, ABAP executive director Ed Picson isn’t sure if the MVP Group is ready to give up its control of the ABAP and feels that a similar setup can be made just like what it did with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Even though Pangilinan has relinquished his post as SBP chief, his successor, Al Panlilio, is a fair-haired boy of Pangilinan, and another understudy could end up assuming Vargas’ post at ABAP.