FOR the first time since suffering a shoulder injury after his mega fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao is finally back in action.
Not in the boxing ring, but on the basketball court.
Spin.ph caught the first ever tune-up game of the 36-year-old boxing star since undergoing a surgery to repair the rotator cuff in his right shoulder, which he aggravated and eventually, led to his unanimous decision loss against Mayweather.
Pacquiao played four lung-busting games, and led a 23 point spurt in leading the MP team past the X-MP squad, 60-40.
The eight division world boxing champion buried four triples including two and-one plays to the delight of a sizeable crowd that trooped to the posh The 3rd Fitness Lab gym at the Balajadia Building in Scout Lazcano, Quezon City.
“Malakas ang katawan ni boss. Akalain mo nakasabay siya ng husto. Apat na laro yun, halos saglit lang siya nilalabas,” said former PBA star Zaldy Realubit, whom Pacquiao had tasked to coach the PowerVit Pacman Philippine Aguilas that will see action in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
“He’s here to see the development of our try-outs and at the same time, gusto niya maka-mingle yung mga nag-ta-try-out sa team naming, saka papawis na rin kasi matagal na siyang di nakalaro dahil sa injury,” added the former national team player.
Pacquiao later told Spin.ph his injury is now okay and that he is even ready to prepare for his next fight.
The Filipino southpaw though, did not delve much on details of his next fight, which is set early next year.
“Oo, pwede na ko lumaban, next year. Pero di na pwede ngayong taon kasi naka-decide na na next year,” he said, while hinting he has no knowledge about his possible opponent yet.
But more than anything else, Pacquiao bared he joined the pick-up games to prepare himself for Mahindra Enforcers’ (formerly Kia Carnival) second season in the PBA, where he is the team’s playing coach.
“Lalaro na ko ulit,” said Pacquiao, who is likewise reportedly playing for the Aguilas in the coming 6th season of the ABL which opens on October 28.
Asked about his assessment of his performance, Pacquiao said he is still groping for form.
Spin.ph did notice how the boxing star would gasp for air during games.
“Medyo naghahabol pa (ng hangin). Pero nag-e-enjoy lang tayo sa laro. Masaya naman di ba?” he said with a smile before leaving the 3rd Fitness Lab facilities, owned by his Aguilas partner and Powervit president Dick Balajadia.
Meanwhile, the Aguilas have now cut down their roster to 26 players from as high as 55, which Realubit will trim down to its final 16 next week.
The Aguilas’ ABL debut takes place October 30 against the Mono Vampire Thailand at the USEP gym in Davao City, which is one of the three homecourts of the team aside from Gensan and Malolos in Bulacan.
[Watch highlights of Pacquiao’s game here:]