SUNDAY Salvacion and Chris Timberlake admitted that they were starstruck when they first saw Manny Pacquiao enter the playing court, but the Blackwater defense specialists quickly got to work mode.
That meant making the day miserable for the eight-division world boxing champion who was making his debut in pro basketball on Satuday in the PBA Liga ng Bayan preseason event on in Binan, Laguna.
“Eh ako naman kasi, si Pacquiao boksingero, so gawin ko lang ano ginagawa ko sa game, kasi nakakahiya naman kung ma-iskoran ka, so gawin ko best ko,” Salvacion told Spin.ph, who was also whistled for a foul for sticking too close against a driving Pacquiao during one sequence in the second period.
Pacquiao managed to split his foul shot to score his only point in his first-ever official preseason game.
“Tuwang tuwa ko na kabantayan ko siya, pero alam mo naman sa basketball, trabaho iyan,” added the 35-year-old Blackwater forward, who like his boxing idol, was born on Dec. 17, 1978.
Timberlake immediately put pressure the moment Pacquiao had a handle of the ball, overcoming his strong admiration on the Filipino boxing icon.
“I’m star struck in the beginning because he’s one of my idols,” Timberlake told reporters on Saturday.
“I admire him a lot, but at the end of the day, it’s basketball. So once we got out there, I just treat him like any other person,” added the 29-year-old guard out of the University of North Florida.
The defense was so tough, Pacquiao wound up with a point, a rebound and two turnovers in over 10 minutes of action, although Timberlake warns Pacquiao is bound to get better.
“I’m sure with more practice, he’ll improve and he’ll be able to handle basketball out there,” said Timberlake, who is now playing in his third PBA team stints with Purefoods/B-Meg (now San Mig) as well as Meralco the past five seasons.