(NATIONAL SALUTE: Here’s hoping they had offered a prayer for Gonzalo “Lito” Puyat, two-time president of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) in yesterday’s start of PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Here’s also hoping authorities would find it apt to have flags in major basketball institutions, like the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Basketball Association, flown at half-mast in honor of this fiery and dedicated sportsman who never wavered in his clamor for the establishment of a national sports ministry, cabinet level. Puyat, 79, was instrumental in crafting the bill that created the Philippine Sports Commission and had seen the Philippine national basketball team through memorable participations in the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1974 World Basketball Championship in Puerto Rico. He was the father of youth basketball development in the country.)
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DAMAGED or not damaged, the popular clamor remains that Manny Pacquiao must be made to box again.
“It doesn’t matter, but it must be against Juan Manuel Marquez right away,” cries trader and Filipino-Chinese intellectual Peter Tanyao, a Pacquiao devotee who’s endlessly perplexed how his idol could’ve lost his last fight.
Trainer Freddie Roach had said that if Pacquiao should fight again, it must not be earlier than September.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has given his nod but, before everything else, he insisted Pacquiao must have a more thorough head check in the United States.
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Meanwhile, Pacquiao himself has said he wanted to see action as early as April, if possible.
Well, it’s too early to make a pick who Pacman must face after having suffered a shocking lights-out knockout against Marquez in Las Vegas early last month.
Do remember that Marquez was not even on top of the list in that raffle that determined Pacquiao’s foe following his controversial loss to the unbeaten Timothy Bradley last June.
Looking for the possible next foe, this reporter has turned to someone we’ve deemed competent enough to help make a choice and prevent another monumental national heartache.
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The Pacman must make sure he avoids The Ghost?
The ghost of Juan Manuel Marquez?
“No, Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero,” cries international boxing correspondent Anthony Andales.
The US-based aeronautics engineer says Manny Pacquiao would “really be Brenda (brain-damaged) if he decides to face Guerrero.”
“Guerrero is a master boxer who thrives on craft and science,” he explains.” A perfect match for Pacquiao is Brandon Rios, a certified slugger.”
Andales says Pacquiao can easily demolish him, because Rios has “no defense and is tailored for Manny.”
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So who’s Mr. Andales?
It would help to run this message he sent to the Inquirer last Dec. 4, four day’s before Pacquiao fourth encounter with Marquez.
“If Manny will be extremely aggressive as they plan to do, he might get knocked down, or even stopped. Marquez has mastered Manny’s style, kabisado na.”
He added: “In each of their last three fights, Marquez continued to improve, while Pacquiao declined. If we are to graph the performance, I expect Marquez to have a decision or late KO. Especially now when Manny’s heart is not for boxing anymore.”
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Andales put $500 on underdog Marquez and collected $1,200.
He continued to explain: “If you noticed Marquez was the only pure boxer among Manny’s opponents, all the others were pure sluggers who stood in front and were either knocked out or retired by Manny.”
Anyway, after his latest text message, Andales was asked whether he noticed Pacquiao could still hit hard-but could no longer take a big punch.
“Well, they can do something about that,” he said.
“They should take out Freddie Roach or they could give him an assistant who can teach Pacquiao decent defense.”