NorthCot pug bags 3rd gold in nat’l youth championships

Sarguilla and 11-year-old Federico Ame, both of Midsayap town, gave the North Cotabato team its two gold medals while the other boys added three silver and four bronze medals.

Ame, a sidewalk vendor's son, defeated Joel Calamba of Calinan, Davao City to win the gold medal in the No Weight Division.

Sarguilla's and Ame's gold medals capped the week-long campaign of the 15 Braveheart Boys of North Cotabato who started strong with six victories on the first day and sent five boys to the finals.

The three other boys who settled for silver were featherweight Gilbert Gonzales, 15, who lost RSC-OS as he was outclassed by a veteran opponent, RJ Anoos of Cebu City; John Liemme Ovalo who was defeated by Mark Anthony Barriga of Davao del Norte; and Ryan Daquipil, 14, who lost to Bryan Francisco of Bago City.

Four other North Cotabato boys who reached the semi-final round garnered bronze bringing the team's total medal harvest to 2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze.

The focus, however, was on Sarguilla, who won the gold in the National Youth as an 11-year-old in 2005 and as a 12-year-old in 2006, and in the absence of the national youth competitions last year, won the gold in the Manny Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Championships.

Sarguilla, who along with the other members of the North Cotabato team, is a product of a grassroots boxing program started by then governor and now Vice Governor Manny Pinol in 1998, is widely considered as a natural boxing talent.

"The boy is a natural boxer. He moves gracefully inside the ring and has very sharp eyes," said North Cotabato's 2nd District Rep. Bernardo Pinol Jr. who flew to Iloilo City to witness the semi-final and final rounds.

The other boys who did not win the gold but who are worth watching too, according to Pinol are the three silver medalists — Gonzales, who at 15 is already 5' 6" tall and seeing action in the nationals for the first time; Ovalo, who at 14 is 5' 4" tall and the young Daquipil.

Bronze medalists Joemer Lumacad, 15, Benjie Artaba, 17 (5' 7" tall) and Lyounney Lerio and 15-year-old Arnel Gepullano (5' 6") who failed to see action are the other potentials in the North Cotabato boxing team.

"We will be back next year with a stronger team," promised Rep. Pinol. (MindaNews)