Manny Pacquiao turns cager

Manny Pacquiao turns cager
Manny Pacquiao at Dubai Sports Council

Dubai - Away from boxing, the next few months are also pivotal politically for the Filipino legend.



By Moni Mathews

Published: Sun 8 Nov 2015, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 8 Nov 2015, 8:52 AM

Fighter of the decade and the second highest paid sportsperson in the world so far this year, Philippines' Many Pacquiao, the first and only eight-division world champion in which he won 10 belts, as well as the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes, made sure the turnout at Al Wasl stadium on Friday night went home entertained.
Taking up the game of basketball at a high pedestal looked as smooth as everything else for the superstar Sarangani province
Congressman who has also excelled in singing and acting.
Leading the Mahindra Enforcers Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) side as coach cum player (point guard), he made sure his side put forward their best in the Philippine Cup opening game against the Alaska Aces. At the time of going to the Press, the Aces led 61-51 midway through the third quarter. The first quarter saw Pacman's men lead briefly (12-8) before the Aces started to settle into a grove. The Aces jumped to 41-31 in second quarter play with splendid drives and triples.
Soon after warming up, Pacquiao addressed the audience with the help of a mike, saying: "We have kept you waiting this long. I am not going to say anything more but a very big word of thank you for all your support and good wishes. Now, lets start and get on with the game."
Pacquiao playing in the first five had a couple of tricks to show especially the left handed backhand pass while feigning to go in for drive past the Alaskan wall which was imposing considering the pugilist's height. In the second match of the tournament (Philippine Cup), The Aces play Barangay Ginebra at the same venue on Saturday.
Thirty-six year Pacquiao, who lost his long-awaited clash with America's Floyd Mayweather Junior by unanimous decision earlier this year in the unified titles 'bout of the century' challenge and defence, was also drafted onto the Mahindra Enforcers team as 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 PBA draft, making him the oldest rookie drafted, as well as the shortest player and the first dual-sport athlete in the PBA. He played seven minutes of one of the team's games this season.
Apart from direct PBA involvement, Pacquiao owns a developmental team in his country and backs a side as brand ambassador in the ASEAN Basketball League. Pacquiao is here mainly for the basketball event and two other opening ceremony functions in the city.
Away from boxing, the next few months are also pivotal politically for the Filipino legend.
Last month he officially filed his paperwork to run for senator in next May's Filipino general elections.
Organisers' approach baffling!
One publication was given the exclusive rights to cover Many Pacquiao's trip to the UAE while the rest were ignored totally.
Pacquiao is too big a catch to miss for many good reasons and the writer and KT photographer tried getting into the stadium on Friday night for the Mahindra Enforcers-Alaska Aces basketball match featuring Enforcers' 'Pacman' as Pacquiao is called by his fans.
The writer just about managed 16 minutes of the first half with a ticket bought at the entry gate.
The right to exclusivity is understandable but not the way the rest of the print media here were handled by the organisers of the visit.
moni@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Sports