MANILA, Philippines – Freddie Roach, the legendary trainer of 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, said he enjoyed watching his first UAAP game on Sunday, October 2, when rivals De La Salle and Ateneo went head to head at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"First time, yeah. I've [done] the PBA Finals before but this is my first time in this level," Roach told Rappler after the contest, which DLSU won 97-81.
The 56-year-old Roach enjoyed the pace of the game, noting that the referees didn't blow their whistles as often as game officials do in the United States.
"It was a great game. A lot of action. They don't seem to blow the whistles as much as they do in America, but it opens the game up a little bit. It's a fun game to watch."
Roach, who was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, was wearing a green DLSU shirt, indicating which team he was supporting.
"I'm Irish, come on… I grew up in Boston, come on. Green, come on," he said about why he was rooting for the Green Archers.
La Salle won in large part thanks to Ben Mbala, who finished with 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting, 13 rebounds, and 5 steals. The big man from Cameroon also had 3 highlight dunks, and was a force on defense against the Blue Eagles.
"Very good. Tremendous performance, great game," Roach said about Mbala.
"“The first couple of quarters were competitive but then they (La Salle) blew them out," he later added. (READ: La Salle dedicates win over Ateneo to suspended Ayo, injured Teng)
On whether Roach will watch some more UAAP games, he answered, "If they let me."
The trainer is currently preparing Pacquiao for a November fight against Jessie Vargas and will be in Manila for 21 more days. – Rappler.com