SORRY, but Manny Pacquiao was not in the mood to give away a financial bonus even if Mahindra kept its unbeaten slate in the PBA Governors Cup.
The boxing great, known for his generosity, didn’t hand out cash rewards to the team as he usually did in the past after every Enforcer win. But he said there would a big one coming should the franchise make it to the playoffs of the season-ending conference.
“That’s the goal of the team, to make the playoffs kaya dun ni-reserve ni Boss (Manny) yung bonus for the team,” said assistant team manager Jo Ramos shortly after Mahindra booked a third straight win by surviving a late San Miguel Beer charge, 105-103, on Wednesday night.
Still listed as the team's playing-coach, Pacquiao surprised the team when he arrived at the Smart Araneta Coliseum early in the first quarter of the game along with wife Jinkee and a small entourage.
Coach Chris Gavina admitted the Enforcer weren’t expecting the 37-year-old Pacquiao to be in the team’s biggest game of the conference.
“His presence alone gave a double incentive for us motivation-wise and as well as inspiration-wise,” he said. “Every time you see Manny, you really wanna go to war for him.”
Mahindra did just that. The expansion franchise battled the defending champion toe-to-toe, and even led by as many as 68-56 in the third period, before enduring the late rally of the Beermen to eke out the close win.
Amid chants of 'Bonus! bonus! bonus!' inside the raucous Mahindra dugout, Pacquiao announced the incentive will come the Enforcer’s way should they advance in the quarterfinals.
Judging the way they have been playing, such scenario isn’t far-fetched.
“Maganda yung team ng Mahindra ngayon. Lahat ng hardwork na ginagawa nila sa training sinusunod nila,” Pacquiao noted.
Import James White also caught the attention of Pacquiao after he finished with another double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds.
“Magaling. May talon, may jump shot, at may outside shooting,” he said.
Barring any hitches, Pacquiao said he’ll always find time to watch the Enforcers in action live.