MANILA, Philippines—The punch that knocked out Manny Pacquiao also silenced a nation still reeling from the wrath of typhoon “Pablo.”
People strode out of cinemas at the Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City, with somber expressions on their faces as if coming out from a sad movie. Before joining what seemed like a funeral procession, the crowd stayed for some 30 minutes after the momentous 6th round in which the national champ was knocked out by an old foe. Unable to accept defeat, they sat stoically while waiting for word from Pacquiao himself.
It came too soon, unexpected, a group from Laguna told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“What happened?” said one, apparently trying to exact an answer from an older member of the group.
After Pacquiao regained consciousness, the crowd heaved a sigh of relief. Only after cameras panned out of Pacquiao did they slowly move out of their seats.
The only consolation was seeing their idol valiantly stand up from the canvass after what seemed like eternity of waiting.
“It’s bound to happen sooner than later,” was all Aaron Estoque, a visiting Filipino worker in Guam, could say. Estoque watched with his mother in Greenbelt 3, Makati.
A pall of gloom also descended on people outside the cinemas as soon as the bad news spread, with storekeepers, fastfood crews and a few shoppers talking in a hushed tone of the bout that arguably ended Pacquiao’s aura of invincibility.
“We just wasted P700,” said a fast-food crew, when told that the bout abruptly came to an end with devastating result for the national champ.
A stunned Senator Francis Pangilinan said: “Masakit (It’s painful).”
“Yes. This is a painful defeat felt throughout the nation. Manny is still and will always be our nation’s greatest boxing champion. This painful defeat does not lessen in anyway what he has achieved as a boxer, as a Filipino and as a human being. We will always hold him in highest esteem,” said Pangilinan in a text message.