Manny Pacquiao’s ascent to fame and fortune is undoubtedly one of the best modern day rags-to-riches tales in history.
Blackwater Elite team owner Dioceldo Sy witnessed it first hand as one of Pacquiao's former employers, which is why he takes much pride in being part of the eight-division world boxing champion’s humble beginnings.
Seeing Pacquiao reap the benefits of his hardwork and determination did not come as a surprise to Sy, especially now that his former conditioning coach at PBL team Blu Detergent has become one of the country’s most influential personalities.
“Manny is a humble guy and he never deviates from his task of getting the job done by improving and stretching himself to the limit to tap his full potential,” said Sy.
The Ever Bilena President and CEO even shared one of the heartwarming stories during Pacquiao’s early days.
“Nung time kasi na nung nasa Blu Detergent team ko pa siya, tatawag siya sa akin to tell me na wala siyang pera at pamasahe, so I would pick him up sa may Central Market sa Quiapo,” said Sy.
“And there are times na Manny would look so innocent and say, ‘Boss, napakaganda ng sasakyan mo, ganito ang gusto ko.' Dala ko nun was a Ford Expedition,” he added.
Two decades later, Sy was so happy to remind Pacquiao about that old conversation when they met at the Senator-elect's mansion in General Santos City.
“I saw a maroon Expedition, naka-park sa baba ng gym niya. I told him, 'Manny, naaalala mo ba 'yung sinabi ko sa yo, magtiyaga ka lang at magkakaruon ka ng Ford Expedition?’” Sy told Pacquiao.
“Then I said: ‘Ngayon ang Ford Expedition mo, pang-security mo na lang eh.' Napangiti siya at nag-isip,” said the longtime basketball patron.
Sy said he is the least surprised with the many blessings Pacquiao has received and continues to receive because of the man's humility as well as his generosity to those in need.
“Napaka-humble at determined nya. Hinahangaan ko talaga sa kanya 'yung perseverance niya and ability to make himself better and prove his critics wrong,” he said.
But Sy admitted he, too, was surprised to see Pacquiao reach unprecedented heights.
“I saw his determination and hanga ako sa kanya, pero honestly, during those times, I know he’ll become a world champion, but not the level he has reached na talagang he’ll be recognized worldwide at eight-division champion pa,” Sy said.
“San ba siya galing? When he came to Manila, he was nothing. When he was working for me (1995), I was paying him only 300 pesos for three hours, thrice a week lang 'yun. He used to train Asi Taulava sa PBL, remember?” he added.
“Today, how much is he earning? Tweny to 100 million dollars per fight. I know, he’ll be a big fighter but not a global icon. He’s now the top earning asset ng bansa.”