Jerwin Ancajas counts Irving, Magnolia among favorites as boxing champ turns cage fan
Boxing champ Jerwin Ancajas at ringside together with his family to watch the Magnolia-Phoenix PBA game at the Astrodome. Marlo Cueto

BOXING champion Jerwin Ancajas showed his love for basketball on Saturday night as he watched the PBA Philippine Cup game between Magnolia and Phoenix at the Astrodome.

Ancajas, the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight champion, came along with his family, trainer Joven Jimenez, and members of his Team Survival Camp led by Olympian Mark Barriga.

Like benefactor and promoter, the legendary Manny Pacquiao, the 25-year-old native of Panabo, Davao del Norte, is also into basketball and a self-confessed Magnolia Hotshots fan, who counts Paul Lee and Marc Pingris as among his favorite players.

Through trainer and Magnolia team staff Tembong del Rosario, Ancajas and family were allowed access inside the Hotshots dugout prior to their game, taking photos with Lee, Pingris and the rest of the team.

“Siya yung naging fan sa dugout,” related long-time Magnolia team staff Jojo Peralta.

Jimenez did reveal Ancajas has long been playing basketball, which he has made as part of his cross training in camp.

“Nagpapagawa pa nga yan ng ring doon (sa camp),” he said.

The boxing champ is also an avid fan of Boston Celtics superstar Kyrie Irving that he named his two children after the NBA player – Jhinjie Kyrie and JJ Kyle.

“Feeling niya si Kyrie Irving siya, sir,” Jimenez said in teasing his champion ward.

It was Jimenez who suggested for Ancajas to watch the player known for his killer crossover.

“Sabi ko magaling na player talaga yun (Irving). Sinunod niya naman ako,” said the trainer.

“Pero ngayon nag-aaway na kami kasi lumipat na siya sa Celtics. E ako, Cavs (Cleveland) pa rin,” he said while giggling.

But Jimenez welcomed the brief change in atmosphere watching the Hotshots-Fuel Masters game away from the grueling daily task in their training camp as Ancajas prepares for his title defense against Israel Gonzalez of Mexico on February 3 at the American Bank Center in Texas.

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‘Yes sir pamparelax,” said Jimenez. “Masaya siya ngayon lalo na at kasama niya lahat ng mga tao (sa camp).”

Make that a double delight for the champ as Magnolia rallied for a 97-91 victory over Phoenix to stretch its winning streak to three and improve at 4-1 for solo second place behind defending champion San Miguel (4-0).   

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos