MANNY Pacquiao has turned to his other sport as his expected ring return is yet to be finalized.
The boxing superstar is currently sweating out the excess weight gained during the holidays by playing in pick-up basketball games regularly with his bodyguards, friends and relatives.
Pacquiao, who just turned 34 last month, has been playing basketball religiously since arriving with his family from Israel on Wednesday.
“Basketball ang laro ni boss, yan ang pangpa-kundisyon niya,” said Haplas Fernandez, Pacquiao’s chief of staff and brother of Filipino assistant trainer Buboy.
Top Rank Promotions has been dropping hints about a possible April comeback for Pacquiao, with former World Boxing Association lightweight champion Brandon Rios among those mentioned as his likely opponent.
The Filipino southpaw is coming off a vicious sixth-round knockout against longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico during their fourth meeting last December.
Despite the long flight from the Middle East, the boxing icon and Sarangani congressman played three hours of basketball at The Village in Paranaque.
“Mga 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. yata `yung laro ni boss. OK naman. At least alam namin masaya siya at kahit papano, nakaka-pagtagtag ng katawan niya yun,” Fernandez said.
Later, the flamboyant boxer also had another two of hours of pick-up game at his gym inside his mansion in Dadiangas heights in General Santos City.
According to Pacquiao’s chief security, Caloy Homo, the only eight-division world boxing champion has already put basketball as part of his daily activity.
“Talagang pag may oras, sumisingit ng laro (ng basketball) si boss,” said Homo.
But Pacquiao may skip playing pick-up games by Friday as he’s going on a trip to Kiamba, Sarangani for the celebration of wife Jinkee’s birthday on Saturday.
“Pero pag di kami natuloy ng biyahe mamaya (Friday), malamang mag-aya ulit ng laro `yun sa mga bodyguard at pinsan niya,” added Homo.
It’s also a known fact that other than boxing and basketball, Pacquiao also plays other sports such as tennis, golf, darts, and even chess.
But Homo disclosed Pacquiao has already abandoned gambling-related sports like billiards and cockfighting.
“Wala na, ayaw na niya ng sugal o `yung sport na pwedeng mahaluan ng pustahan. Yung mga gamit na billiards niya, na-i-dispatsa na niya. Pati `yung mga manok niya,” said Homo of Pacquiao, who became a devout Christian almost two years ago.