High-scoring Pacquiao an unlikely saving grace in poorly attended PBA All-Star sidelight
Manny Pacquiao pulls up for a jumper during the Blitz game. Jaime Campos

MANNY Pacquiao was in the mood to score in his first PBA All-Star appearance as he started for the Stalwarts in their Blitz Game against the Greats on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mahindra playing-coach saw action for the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter where he finished with seven points to stake his team to a 25-20 lead, serving up the highlights in an otherwise drab game played before a few hundred fans at the Big Dome.

Pacquiao consequently drew the most cheers as he finished the first half with nine points – already his career-high in the league – on 4 of 9 shooting and with two assists, but the Stalwarts trailed the Greats, 43-41, after two quarters.

The Stalwarts won, 99-94, with Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine winning MVP honors.

"Masaya, masaya ito," he said before the game. "First time kong makakalaro sa All-Star."

Former Ginebra star Noli Locsin was also a fan favorite as he turned back the clock and finished with a double-double for the Greats side.

"Walang practice. Walang training e," said the boxing great afterwards after going scoreless in the second half.

The team later got a taste of Pacquiao's legendary generosity after he gave the Stalwarts a hefty bonus for the win.

"Thank you Senator," the team told led by playing-coach Ronnie Magsanoc told the 37-year-old Pacquiao.

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