Is Pacquiao preparing for a PBA return? Delayed flight ruined plan, says source
A delayed flight caused Manny Pacquiao to postpone his playing debut last Sunday for Mahindra this season. Jerome Ascano

MAHINDRA had to give up Ryan Arana's slot to make room for coach Manny Pacquiao's first ever appearance with the franchise this PBA season.

Unfortunately, the 38-year-old playing-coach and boxing hero was a no-show in the Floodbuster's Philippine Cup game against Alaska at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday.

The reason: A delayed flight from his hometown General Santos City to Manila.

"Plano niya talaga maglaro," a close aide of the Pacman disclosed to the day after the game which Mahindra lost, 107-91, to formally bow out of the race for a quarterfinals berth.

"Ang problema umuwi siya sa GenSan nung Friday."

Expecting Pacquiao to suit up Sunday, Mahindra was quick to reactivate him and relegate Arana to the reserve/injury list barely 24 hours before the Alaska match.

Come game time, the playing senator was nowhere to be seen.

"He was scheduled to go back Sunday to Manila kaso na-delay yung flight," said assistant team manager Jo Ramos. "Eh first game pa naman kami."

Mahindra still has two games left in the eliminations against NLEX this Friday and Alaska on Sunday.

As to whether Pacquiao will be showing up for those twin matches to play or not, your guess is just as good as ours.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos