MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao may not be a veteran in the PBA but he certainly knows how to talk trash.
The newly elected senator hit the ground running in his pro-basketball comeback as Mahindra took on Alaska, guarding no less than high-energy forward Calvin Abueva, last conference’s Best Player and Gilas Pilipinas member.
Pacquiao entered the Wednesday, August 2 game with 2:59 remaining in the opening period, just moments after Abueva subbed in.
In that 3-minute span, Abueva managed to capitalize on the massive mismatch with Pacquiao as his defender, scoring back-to-back triples over the Filipino boxing icon.
After the second trey, Abueva was seen talking to Pacquiao on the court and laughing.
“Sabi ko tsamba (I told him it was a lucky shot),” Pacquiao shared what he told Abueva during their brief trash talking moment.
The matchup between The Champ and The Beast did not occur by chance. It was by design.
“Our game plan was to put him in there when Calvin came in,” shared Mahindra coach Chris Gavina. “That was our game plan. Just kind of, I dunno, art of war kind of thing. Figured The Beast vs the champion, it’s such a great match-up for everybody to see.”
Pacquiao, who was re-activated in lieu of injured LA Revilla and played his first PBA game in 9 months, admitted he, too, wanted to battle Abueva.
“Oo. Okay lang naman. Maybe next time maka ano na ako,” said Pacquiao, who was the center of attention since the warm-ups and was seen actively instructing his team from the sidelines throughout the game. “Masyado akong nag ano kanina, relax-relax lang.”
(Yes. It’s okay. Maybe next time I can do better. I was a little too relaxed earlier.)
After Alaska built a 16-point lead in the second quarter it looked like Abueva would have the last laugh but Mahindra stormed back into the game and eventually completed the comeback in the fourth, 101-95, extending its win streak to 4-0.
Pacquiao has received much criticism for juggling roles outside of his job in government but again argued after Wednesday’s Senate session that he won’t let basketball — or boxing, for that matter, as he’s set to unretire for a fight later this year — interfere with his work as senator. – Rappler.com