MANILA - Several congressmen-friends of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao are in Macau to watch him fight and, they hope, defeat American boxer Chris Algieri today.
The group includes Reps. Franz Alvarez, Amado Bagatsing, Pangalian Balindong, Leopoldo Bataoil, Jose Christopher Belmonte, Nicanor Briones, Dakila Carlo Cua, Joaquin Chipeco, Magtanggol Gunigundo, Carol Jayne Lopez, Romero Quimbo, Roberto Puno, Rogelio Roque, Cesar Sarmiento, Gustavo Tambunting, and Tobias Tiangco.
The lawmakers are expected to return to Manila tomorrow in time for the afternoon session.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said there is no doubt that Pacquiao would emerge the winner in the fight considering his experience, rigid training, a well-prepared plan, and strong determination.
“Algieri may be younger and taller but Manny is stronger, faster and wiser. Even Manny’s past opponents attest to his greater powers. To Manny, we wish you the best and the whole nation once again will be united in praying for your safety and victory. We are proud of you,” Albano said.
Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said Pacquiao is very calculating and aggressive.
“He is a very wise fighter. He analyzes well his opponent, thus he knows when and how to attack, and eventually subdue his foe using his dominant punches,” Aggabao said.
He said the Filipino nation would again be united in cheering and praying for Pacquiao, whose resilience and determination, he added, are worth emulating.
“We wish Manny good luck, and we are confident about his victory over a younger opponent. Manny has more experience, speed and stamina. We pray for his personal safety and his victory for our entire nation,” he said.
Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona expressed confidence that a 39th knockout victory for the Filipino boxing icon is highly possible.
“Algieri’s overconfidence is a big mistake because Manny will surely defeat him. Manny has never underestimated any of his opponents, whether his rival is younger, older, taller or bigger than him. He always takes his rigid training seriously,” Madrona said.
“No wonder his speed and stamina have been unmatched over the years. A knockout victory is very possible,” he said.
Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said Pacquiao’s “athleticism and spirituality will carry him to victory.”
De la Cruz, a member of the independent bloc, said the nation is praying for Pacquiao’s victory.
Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said Pacquiao’s courage, strength and discipline are the key to his expected victory.
“Manny is very disciplined in sticking to his training regimen. And when he is on the boxing ring, he executes well the game plan against his opponent,” he said.
“His bravery is also noteworthy, as he courageously confronts his opponents with his powerful punches. He has all what it takes to overpower Algieri,” Romulo said.
ACT-CIST party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao said Pacquiao is not just an iconic boxing champ but a symbol of unity as well.
He said Filipinos had always come together in prayer for Pacquiao’s victory in all his fights.
“We do that once more as he now faces a younger opponent and we are confident that with God’s grace, this bout will yet be another victory for Manny and the Filipino people,” he said.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who also flew to China along with his legal adviser Edward Serapio and several officials and friends, said he expects a knockout victory in the fifth round for the Sarangani congressman today.
Estrada said the city government has provided free venues for the live viewing of the boxing match between Pacquiao and Algieri at seven sports centers and a shopping mall.
Estrada said live telecast of Pacquiao versus Algieri would be shown on large LED screens at Rasac covered court on Alvarez street and Rizal Avenue; Patricia covered court on Flora street in Gagalangin, Tondo; Sarmiento covered court in Old Sta. Mesa street, Sta. Mesa; San Andres sports complex in San Andres street, Malate; Dapitan sports complex on Instruccion street, Sampaloc; Del Pan sports complex in Del Pan, Binondo; Tondo sports complex on Nicolas Zamora street in Tondo; and at the food court of 168 Mall in Divisoria.
Troops across the nation including those in troubled island provinces of Sulu and Basilan are setting their weapons aside today to watch a live telecast of the Pacquiao-Algieri fight. But an official said they are not letting their guard down.
“There will be no letup in our law enforcement operations and I won’t allow the bandits to relax and watch the fight. Some of my support personnel can enjoy the live viewing at our headquarters,” Col. Allan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group (JTG) Sulu said.
Arrojado has installed a widescreen at their headquarters in Bud Datu in Indanan for troops wishing to watch the fight.
Pacquiao is a reserved Army officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
“Aside from our battalion headquarters, all our company patrol bases in Basilan are having live streaming of the fight,” a senior Army ground commander said.
At Camp Aguinaldo, widescreens have been set up near the grandstand and at the AFP Wellness Center.
There would also be a live telecast of Pacquiao-Algieri fat the Ricarte Hall of the Army Officers’ Clubhouse, Army General Hospital Multipurpose Hall, and at the Gymnasium.
“As a Philippine Army personnel, I draw inspiration from Lt. Col. Pacquiao as I continue to recover from my wound. He has been giving honor to our country by fighting in the ring and I hope that I can do the same in protecting our country,” said Pfc. James Danao, 26.
Danao was wounded in an encounter with communist rebels in Lacob, Abra last September.
“I am excited to watch him fight again. He always gives his best in all his fights and I am confident that he will win and bring honor to our country again this time,” Pfc. Aldeniel Hadjirani, 24, of the Philippine Marines, said.
The Philippine Navy is also providing free live viewing of the Pacquiao-Algieri bout to peacekeepers on quarantine on Caballo Island. – Jaime Laude, Jose Rodel Clapano
Read more on The Philippine Star.