FOR boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, there's no better way to begin his preparation for his upcoming rubber match versus arch-rival Timothy Bradley than starting his gruelling training day with the next best sport he loves—basketball.
Just shortly after a 4.5-kilometer jog around his neighborhood of Forbes Park in Makati, Pacquiao immediately joined his friends in a pick-up game at the Forbes Gym.
The 37-year-old eight division world champ warmed up with his usual 30-minute calisthenics while the game was already ongoing. Afterwards, Pacquiao plunged straight into basketball action, joining the colored team which was down 21-27, and immediately made his presence felt with a quick three-pointer and an assist to chief of staff Haplas Fernandez—bringing his team to within one.
The Mahindra Enforcers playing coach then went on to drain four more triples plus four lay-ups, including an off-the-backboard putback to carry his team to a 60-55 win against the white team led by longtime associate and Mahindra assistant team manager Jo Ramos. Although he entered late in the game, Pacquiao still finished with 20 points.
Pacquiao’s assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez revealed that basketball will be part of their preliminary conditioning before the intense training camp, which begins on February 15 with trainer Freddie Roach in Gensan, heats up.
“Okay lang yang basketball, saka maganda nga yan eh. Kasi makikita natin improvement nung injury niya sa kanang kamay,” said Fernandez, referring to Pacquiao's previous shoulder injury which required surgery right after his titanic fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last May.
The Sarangani congressman evidently shows no more signs of pain on his right arm as he even displayed some dribbling drills, something that's incorporated in his morning routine.
“Okay naman na yung injury ko dati. Nagdi-dribble na nga ako, one ball at saka two ball dribbling drills,” said Pacquiao.
But when asked why he keeps on massaging his left arm during his shadow boxing, Pacquiao assured it’s nothing serious.
“Wala yun. Chine-check ko lang. Hindi naman siya masakit,” he said with a smile.
Pacquiao will be in Manila until Thursday before immediately flying back to General Santos City to continue his workouts and officially open their training camp, Then, he and his entourage will head to the US on the first week of March.
“We’ll be training here until tomorrow, then we fly to Gensan on Thursday then he starts his training camp Monday. Freddie will be arriving on the 14th (Sunday),” said Pacquiao’s business manager Michael Koncz.
“We won’t be asking Justin (Fortune) to come over. He’ll just wait for us in LA (Los Angeles) along with the group of sparmates will be picking,” added the outspoken Canadian.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao took part in UNA (United Nationalists Alliance) proclamation rally, where he is one of the senatorial bets, in Mandaluyong City led by presidential candidate and current vice president Jejomar Binay on Tuesday evening.
If elected, Pacquiao vows to provide utmost support to poor Filipino families in an attempt to lift them from abject poverty.
“Galing sa mahirap ang kakalinga sa mga mahihirap,” said Pacquiao, which is one of his campaign’s slogans.