Manny Pacquiao to miss Mahindra's first PBA playoff appearance as sparring begins
Manny Pacquiao won’t be available for what would have been his first-ever PBA playoff appearance since he is scheduled for sparring late Saturday at the Elorde gym. Jaime Campos

UNLESS Mahindra gets to extend its campaign in the PBA Governors Cup, the season may be through for playing-coach Manny Pacquiao.

The Enforcer are looking to drag the twice-to-beat Meralco Bolts into sudden-death when they begin their quarterfinal showdown on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Bolts eked out a 104-99 win over the Enforcer last Wednesday in their playoff for the No. 4 seed to earn the last twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs of the season-ending conference.

That left Mahindra is in a do-or-die position in the 3 p.m. encounter.

Unfortunately, the 37-year-old Pacquiao won’t be available for what would have been his first-ever postseason appearance since he is scheduled for sparring later in the day at the Elorde gym as his camp already entered the intense phase of training for his November 5 fight against world champion Jessie Vargas.

“Malabo maglaro si boss, mag-spar siya kasi mamaya,” said aide-de-camp Haplas Fernandez in a talk with over the phone.

The eight-time world division champion already began sparring sessions last Thursday, going four rounds against Leonardo Doronio. Like before, sparring sessions are set every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Deputy coach Chris Gavina earlier expressed hope that Mahindra’s inspirational leader would show up for the most important game in the franchise’s young history.

“Hopefully, (because) that would add motivation and inspiration (for us),” he said following the loss to the Bolts.

But the Pacman had too much on his plate for the day.

After a late morning run around the posh Forbes Park Village in Makati, Pacquiao had a brief rest before lunch, and then went straight to the nearby Mall of Asia for the afternoon sparring.

He’s not through for the evening after that.

“Mag-judge pa siya dun sa Miss Global ba yun,” said Fernandez of the beauty pageant held at the PICC.


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