Inspired by Manny Pacquiao, the Philippines dominated the boxing finals at the SEA Games on Wednesday, winning five of the 11 gold medals on offer at Singapore’s EXPO Hall.
All 10 members of the Philippines boxing team picked up medals, with three silvers and two bronzes added to the five golds.
Leading the way was 2011 world junior champion Eumir Felix Marcial, the 19-year-old who scored the only knockout of the day with a brilliant display of controlled boxing against Singapore’s Jia Wei Tay.
Philippines' Eumir Felix Marcial (R) celebrates winning the fight against Singapore's Tay Jia Wei. Photo credit: SINGSOC
The 11-bout card opened with the first victory for the Philippines in a high-class women's light flyweight bout between 2012 world champion Josie Gabuco and Thailand's Chathumat Raksat, who won a world bronze last year.
Gabuco was the aggressor throughout and started to score heavily in the second half of the four-round bout, edging a unanimous points decision that led her opponent to collapse in the ring as the result was announced. The victory gave Gabuco a fourth straight SEA Games gold medal.
Philippines' Josie Gabuco (L) in action with Thailand's Chuthamat Raksat. Photo credit: SINGSOC
Ian Clark Bautista was another Filipino on a mission after he was eliminated from the Asian Games in South Korea last year, where he and his team felt they were victims of a hometown decision in a bout he had dominated.
Bautista was up against another hometown hero on Wednesday and was able to breathe a sigh of relief after he was awarded a split decision victory over Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid despite appearing to again dominate his battered and bruised opponent.
Men's bantamweight Mario Fernandez stopped Thailand's Tanes Ongjunta in the second round of their bout, while lightweight Junel Cantancio completed the country's gold medal haul with a tight win over Vietnam's Van Hai Nguyen.
Despite that defeat, Vietnam did bag three golds, two via split decision wins for Thi Yen Nguyen and Thi Bang Le in the women's division before Dinh Hoang Truong captured the last gold of the night in the men's middleweight division.
Indonesian light flyweight Kornelis Kwangu Langu was the other winner on the night.