MAASIN, Southern Leyte—Mandaue City struck twice through Jeffrey Estella and Hipolito Banal Jr. in the finals of the PLDT-Abap National Championships yesterday at Maasin City Gym.
Estella squeaked past Himamaylan’s Mario Bautista for the gold medal in the junior boys’ pinweight bout while Banal followed suit by subduing Davao Del Norte’s John Patrick Dinolan, 12-8, for the junior boys light flyweight title.
While Banal, 15-year-old brother of pro AJ “Bazooka” Banal, left the outcome of the 48 kg final beyond doubt, Estella needed to rally from a 3-6 hole in the third and final round to snatch the 46 kg title from Bautista via countback.
Estella and Bautista wound up tied at 9-9.
It was Banal, a freshman at Kabankalan National High School, who caught the attention of the capacity crowd with his flashy moves that also earned him the Visayas leg title and the Batang Pinoy crown last December.
“I want to be an Olympian before turning pro,” Banal said in Filipino.
Gen. Santos copped its second gold through Alexcel Dargantes, who won by Referee Stopped Contest-Outclassed (1:18, first round) while ahead, 8-0, over Tayabas’ Jell Ann Nantes for the junior girls’ light flyweight (48 kg) title.
The crowd erupted in glee when local bet Ruby Nicanor bested GenSan’s Liezel Mae Alde, 9-5, for the junior girls fly gold.
Maasin Mayor Maloney Samaco graced the closing rites of the event that lured 24 teams. Half of the 20-bout finals were still unfinished at press time.
Abap executive director Ed Picson supervised the tournament, the culmination of a nationwide elimination series that also visited Gen. Santos City (Mindanao leg), Bago City (Visayas leg) and Iba, Zambales (NCR-Luzon leg).
OTHER WINNERS: Davao Del Norte’s Michael John Bahena (jr boys flyweight), Misamis Oriental’s Presco Carcosia (jr boys light bantam), Gen. Santos City’s Angelou Plania (jr boys bantam), Bago City’s Jossa Santestiban (jr girls bantam)