Kickboxing team leaves for Hanoi

The 12-man national kickboxing team left for Hanoi, Vietnam Monday to jumpstart the country’s campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Photo from the Philippine Sports Commission

The squad took a connecting flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Hanoi where they will arrive in time for the competitions starting on Friday.

Kickboxing is one of the sports that will start prior to the official opening on May 12. The biennial meet will end on May 23.

The PH team trained for three months under a bubble-type setup in La Trinidad, Benguet as it hopes to eclipse its three-gold, two-silver and one-bronze medal haul at the previous edition that the country hosted in 2019.

Former One Championship titlist and mixed martial artist Honorio Banario banners the crew along with defending champions Jean Claude Saclag (63kg low kick) and Gina Iniong Araos (women’s 60kg low kick).

Jomar Balangui (57kg full contact) and Renalyn Dacquiel (48kg full contact) aim to improve their silver-medal finish this time.

Completing the cast are Carlos Alvarez (67kg full contact), Kurt Lubrica (54kg low kick), Daryl Chulipaz (51kg full contact), Emmanuel Cantores (60kg low kick), Claudine Veloso (52kg low kick), Gretel de Paz (56kg full contact) and Zephania Ngaya (65kg full contact).

Banario, 32, is making a return to the combat scene, this time, staking the country’s pride and honor as he guns for nothing but the gold medal in the 71kg low kick division.