THE perks of a unified world champion.
Before heading back home to Lanao Del Norte, WBA/IBF super-bantamweight title holder Marlon Tapales had an audience with President Marcos Jr. and got the chance to watch his favorite PBA team Barangay Ginebra at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in the Governors Cup finals against TNT.
It was truly a hectic week for the 31-year-old Tapales since arriving in the country last Monday following his triumphant title campaign in San Antonio, Texas when he dethroned Murodjon Akmadaliev of Uzbekistan to claim the unified belts.
Two days upon arrival, the Filipino champion was the special guest at ringside by the PBA as he watched Game Five of the best-of-seven title series between the Kings and Tropang Giga.
“Paborito niya si Japeth Aguilar,” said Sanman top honcho JC Mananquil, who accompanied the Filipino world champion in the game together with MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons and manager Mike Pelayo.
“Yes, he (Tapales) plays basketball and he is rooting for Ginebra.”
The following day, Tapales and his team made a courtesy call to President Marcos at Malacanang as he brought along his two championship belts.
Gibbons, Mananquil, and Pelayo were also with Tapales, who was joined in the courtesy call by fellow world champion and Sanman stablemate Melvin Jerusalem, trainers Ernel Fontanilla and Michael Domingo, and IBF and IBO Inter-Continental super-featherweight champion and WBA Oceania and WBC Asian Boxing Council super-featherweight title holders Charly Suarez together with trainer Delfin Boholst.
“Well done and keep up what you’re doing of bringing glory to the Philippines,” said the President in his brief speech. “In the grand tradition of our athletes, you have put once again on the map the Philippines, and the people will remember us once more as this grand culture with such great capacity, with such great potential that you are now showing to the rest of the world.”
And capping off the week for Tapales is a homecoming motorcade set Saturday when he comes home in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.
“Pagtapos nito, pahina muna si Marlon. Deserve niya yun,” said Mananquil.