In Huddle

Paner’s brush with ‘fiery’ disaster

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HOW ironic that PBA legend Manny Paner  was almost cremated  alive  on the month when we should be observing Fire Prevention week.

Confirming the account relayed by his fellow PBA legend Bogs Adornado yesterday,  Manny said a huge portion of his head and body was burned  in what he described as “an unfortunate accident.”

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“So many  fallen dried leaves  and branches from caimito and mango trees had littered the  yard  of our farm  in Antipolo that I decided to clean up that day. I came up with a huge pile of debris and  I decided I would have to burn it.”

“Since marami talagang dahon, I thought I would need an accelerant to burn all those leaves and branches.

“So nag-siga ako.

“I got hold of some gas, poured about three liters of it on the pile, then I got a box of matches.”

One match, one short stroke and Manny landed in the hospital, a big portion of his body badly burned.

“Even my thighs and feet were burned. Mabuti na lang hindi masyadong inabot ang mukha ko dahil nakalingon ako nung biglang nagliyab. But my eyebrows, mustache and forehead were not spared.”

Manny lost all the hair on his face and about two inches from his head.

The blaze produced by the accelerant was 30 feet long he said, but Manny did not specify if that was vertical or horizontal.

As you know, gas permeates  the air.

* * *

Surprisingly, Manny  did not have to be  confined in the hospital.

“Outpatient lang ako. My burns required emergency treatment but  I was discharged later. The doctors also gave strict orders for me to rest and, more importantly, stay inside the room for two weeks.

“They said I should not risk infection by exposing myself to dust and pollution.”

Manny said he is now on the road to full recovery.

His moustache and eyebrows are now in full bloom and his once long locks, have regrown an inch.

“Sa harap lang naman nakalbo,” he said.

I was having much difficulty visualizing how he now looks. Although I suppose  he probably still looks alright because  he has even invited me for coffee at a nearby 5-star hotel, “to catch up on the latest regarding the (PBA) legends.”

He has also made a date with Bogs in the United States where he  is headed with wife Daisy Romualdez to watch the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in June.

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“Definitely we will be meeting up either in California or Las Vegas within the next two months,” said Bogs, who has been invited by the Filipino community in Kansas to be their special guest for their basketball awards night.

“I’m supposed to be their presentor.  I told Manny he could join me  if he’s back to his original state.”

Bogs said he has aldo been asked to conduct a basketball clinic for his kababayans in Kansas, with special emphasis on how to acquire the Adornado shooting form.

A three-time PBA MVP, an Olympian and a many-time member of the national team,  Bogs probably still holds the highest scoring average in the PBA which is 20.4 ppg.

He said he didn’t realize it then, but he has been using the technique of creative visualization, which is now popular, decades back when he was still playing.

“When I visualize the basketball going into the basket, it happens,” he said.

He visualizes, he practices hard and he prays.  That was Bogs’ basic formula for success as a cager.

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