IF it was a boxing match, it’s a legitimate punch Manny Pacquiao just delivered in front of Chris Tiu.
But then again, this is basketball and Tiu doesn’t mind the 36-year-old playing-coach of Mahindra scoring his first ever PBA field goal at his expense early in Rain or Shine’s 108-94 win over the Enforcers Sunday in the Smartbro-PBA Philippine Cup.
Pacquiao drained the long corner basket with Tiu on him at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter, giving the Enforcers a 27-25 lead.
Although the crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum erupted in wild jubilation after Pacquiao made the shot, there was no trash talk or any exchange of words between the two close friends.
“Wala nga e, akala ko kakantiyawan ako,” said a smiling Tiu when asked if the boxing icon said anything to him following the basket.
There was no ego hurt on the part of Tiu being the first player with whom Pacquiao scored his first field goal in the league.
He even said it was a lifetime experience for him to be playing and guarding an iconic sports figure in the mold of Pacquiao during an official PBA game.
“I’m glad to have a chance of playing against him, not just to be his co-host because we have a show before,” said Tiu, obviously referring to the defunct show Pinoy Records shown on GMA-7 before.
“Now at least we’re able to play against each other in an official game. Not just laro-laro lang.”
Incidentally, both Tiu and Pacquiao wore the same jersey no. 17. Tiu also happens to be the godfather of one of the Pacman’s children.
“Nakakatuwa lang dahil sa tuwing nahahawakan niya yung bola, actually, hindi pa nga siya humahawak ng bola tumitili na yung buong Araneta, nagwawala na,” said the combo guard out of Ateneo.
“At least alam natin nag-eenjoy yung mga fans.”
But Tiu just won’t let Pacquiao easily get away from him.
The moment Pacquiao converted the basket, Tiu got back against him, scoring on a drive before nailing a three-pointer.
“Nakabawi rin ako,” he added with a laugh. “Pero para sa akin laro lang naman.”