Palace calls Pacquiao 'a national treasure'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2016 02:03 PM

Manny Pacquiao celebrates his unanimous-decision victory over Jessie Vargas to win the WBO welterweight championship title at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller, Getty Images/AFP

MANILA - Malacanang on Sunday praised Senator Manny Pacquiao for his decisive victory against Jessie Vargas, making him the first active senator to win a world boxing championship.

In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Pacquiao's triump "united and brought joy to our people and our nation."

"The discipline, the determination, and the hard work of our People's Champ are truly what make him a National Treasure in Global Sports," he said.

Pacquiao overpowered the younger Jessie Vargas to win via unanimous decision and claim the WBO welterweight championship on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The "Pacman" was looking to end a knockout drought that dated all the way back to 2009, but had to settle for flooring Vargas once en route to a unanimous decision.

Judges scored the bout 114-113, 118-109, 118-109, all for the "Pacman."

On the other hand, fellow Pinoy boxer Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire suffered defeat at the hands of the undefeated Jessie Magdaleno.

The judges scored the bout in favor of Magdaleno, 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110, making him the new WBO world super bantamweight champion in his first crack at a world championship.

Andanar said Donaire's defeat "would not diminish the honors he bestowed to the people and to the flag."

"He remains 'The Filipino Flash' with his quick hand speed and formidable punching power," he said.

"The courage and grit displayed by our Filipino boxers in Las Vegas are the same qualities we must demonstrate as a nation to rid society of drugs, criminality and corruption. Government has been successfully waging a war on these fronts and we as a people emulating our boxers' toughness against all odds -- must continue the strong gains as we battle towards victory. Mabuhay ang Pilipino! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!"