Saludar joins Suarez in gold medal round

Posted at 07/14/2014 7:06 PM | Updated as of 07/14/2014 7:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Rey Saludar hacked out another split decision to join compatriot Charly Suarez in the finals of the fourth President’s Cup boxing tournament in Almaty, Kazakhstan Saturday.

Saludar relied on his power attacks to edge London Olympian Ilyas Seleimenov of the host country, 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29, before a stunned crowd at the Baluak Sholan Palace of Culture and Sports.

The 2010 Asian Games champion thus made it two for PLDT-ABAP team, Suarez earlier clinching a berth in the gold medal bout set Sunday.

National coaches Nolito Velasco and Elmer Pamisa instructed the 26-year-old Army man to deliver double left straights which found their mark and which Suleimenov was unable to parry or counter.

Several times Saludar complained of wayward elbows and headbutts but he was admonished by his corner to just keep his focus on the fight.

Saludar goes up against Shahobiddin Zoirov, who moved up to the flyweight class from light-flyweight, for the gold. He had fought London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga twice, losing to the Panabo, Davao del Norte native both times.

Suarez, meanwhile, will have veteran Berik Abdrahmanove,30, as his finals foe. The Kazakh is the reigning Asian champion.

ABAP president Ricky Vargas, in a text message to executive director Ed Picson congratulated the boys and reminded the team “of our immediate goal which is to win in the Asian Games and then qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Stay focused and learn as much as you can.”