By Ed Andaya | thru Champ President Andrew Buencamino
THE boxing community welcomes the initiatives of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, to undertake reforms for the betterment of the sport.
Liza Elorde, daughter-in-law of the late Filipino boxing great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, said GAB under Mitra is doing very well despite the many problems besetting professional boxing and other pro sports.
“In fairness to Chairman Mitra, we know how hard he is working para mapaganda ang GAB. But to initiate change in any organization, alam naman natin lahat napakahirap,” said Elorde during the 14th “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros last March 14.
“But OK naman kami ngayon sa mga ginagawa ni Chairman Mitra na pagbabago sa GAB,” she added.
Elorde, who appeared during the weekly sports forum to promote the coming 19th Flash Elorde Memorial Awards: Banquet of Champions, said Mitra is not to blame for the ills facing local boxing.
“Let’s admit it. May mga problema na sa GAB when he came. We are telling him (Mitra) about that. Hindi naman nya kasalanan. Namana lang nya yun mga ills ng boxing. Madaming pagkukulang kasi nga may mga complaints ang mga managers and promoters. There are many ways na napabayaan. Alam naman nila yun,” explained Elorde.
Asked about the plan of Sen. Manny Pacquiao to create the Philippine Boxing Commission, Elorde said:
“That was an offshoot of all the problems in boxing To tell you frankly, we were invited as one of the resource persons at sinabi namin ang mga problema ng GAB in the past. Siguro yun ang gusto ayusin ni Sen. Pacquiao ngayon.”
She said Sen. Pacquiao would like to put up a separate body from GAB.
“Naisip siguro nya na gaya sa basketball, gumawa ng separate body na hiwalay dahil ang GAB madami na professional sports na inaasikaso.”
Elorde and husband Johnny said their family is hosting the annual Elorde Awards Night on March 25 not only to perpetuate the memory of the Elorde patriarch but to encourage more young boxers to excel and serve as role models to the youth.
“We have a lot of boxing talents, but only very few promoters like Joven Jimenez to Jerwin Ancajas. Mahirap at magastos mag-promote kaya we need support from both the government and the private sector,” explained Elorde, a mother of two boxers (Migs and Bai) and one basketball player (Nikko).
“Pero kahit mahirap, gusto namin madaming ma-enganyong kabataan na mag-boxing. Ngayon madami na kasi hindi nakakakilala kay Elorde, na nag-boxing at sumikat kahit nanggaling sa hirap. Tapos Sen. Pacquiao at kasunod na sina Ancajas.”
Ancajas, Juan Miguel Elorde and brother Juan Martin Elorde, who also appeared in the same forum, said they look up to Pacquiao as their boxing hero and hope to someday serve as one to future boxing talents.
“Lahat naman kaming boxers, idol namin si Sir Manny. Lahat kami gusto maging kagaya nya,” said Ancajas, who will be one of the boxers to be honored during the Elorde Awards Night.
The “Usapang Sports” is a weekly project of the TOPS, the newest sports group composed of editors, reporters and photographers from the country’s leading tabloids.
The sports forum is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and National Press Club and shown on Facebook live via Glitter Livestream.