GENERAL SANTOS CITY - PSC-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup supervising technical director Rogelio Fortaleza is hopeful that they will scout a lot of promising talents in this nationwide grassroots boxing program that kicked off at Robinsons Place here yesterday, December 16.

Fortaleza, during the official weigh-in of the Mindanao Preliminaries that has attracted a total of 90 boxers from 17 areas in the island, said, "Our objective here is to scout potential boxers for the national team. We are crossing our fingers na marami kaming madiscover."

However, he was somehow disappointed by the low turnout of entries in the Mindanao Preliminaries with Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City fielding the most boxers with 14 and 13, respectively.

"Nagpadala naman ng mga invitations, sayang naman at hindi sumali ang iba," Fortaleza said, considering that Mindanao is a breeding ground of great amateur boxers.

Malungon, Sarangani has 11 boxers while Barangay Aglayan of Malaybalay, Barangay Labangal and Digos City has eight entries each.

The Davao City boxing team, which originally brought eight boxers, only has seven boxers eligible to play after the official weigh-in held at Lagao Gym yesterday morning.

Kidapawan City fielded six pugs along with Sultan Kudarat as Koronadal City and Polomolok, South Cotabato each sent four boxers.

Of all Mindanao entries entered, only a total of nine preliminary bouts will be conducted in the two-day event here.

"Yung gagawing preliminary bouts eh yung mga weight classes lang na maraming entries. The rest didiretso na sa Mindanao quarterfinals na gaganapin sa Kidapawan on February 10 and 11," Fortaleza said.

Pitted yesterday were James Errol Gahaton of Barangay Labangal, General Santos City against Kim Jade Sagrado of Barangay Aglayan, Malaybalay in junior boys pinweight (44-46 kilograms) division; Ben John Rey Yagahon of Barangay Aglayan against Alvin John Sumodlayon of Barangay Labangal in junior boys light flyweight (48 kgs) and Alfred Gomez of Malungon against Jayson Brillo of Sultan Kudarat in junior boys light flyweight.

Today's (December 17) bouts feature youth boys light fyweight (46-49 kgs) - Ariel Almamento of General Santos City vs Ferdinand Melegrito of Barangay Labangal and Christian Lanutan of Malungon vs Jake Sone Saludar of Polomolok; youth boys flyweight (52 kgs) - Arceboy Baranggan of Barangay Aglayan vs Carl Joshua Rafael of Malungon, John Ignatius Macas of Cagayan de Oro City vs Nino Kongkong of Koronadal City  and Nichole Jhon Ligas of Digos City vs Criz Sander Laurente of General Santos City; and youth boys bantamweight (56 kgs) - Zaldy Recopuerto of Malungon vs Remark Brillo of Sultan Kudarat.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez was sick and was not able to come. He was instead represented by PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram who was joined by PSC executive director lawyer Sannah B. Frivaldo and Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) national director Marc Edward Velasco.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera was also present.

Senator Manny Pacquaio, who was flying in from Manila, was expected to grace the opening program that has yet to start as of this writing.