Pinoy sports passion, good and not so good
THE MAIN passage outside the Cotai Arena in Macau after Manny Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight crown in an insane mismatch against American Chris Algieri on Nov. 23 was jammed and airless, frenzied fans pushed and shoved, going their separate mindless ways.
It felt like having waded into the core of the boiling Quiapo Black Nazarene fiesta procession, with an absent image of Jesus Christ being borne, pulled or towed by the lost crowd.
It was no procession, indeed, although it would be whispered around later that Filipino basketball legend Robert Jaworski, a Pacquiao fan, was seen being mobbed by fans in the clogged corridor.
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It was Pinoy sports passion at its best-and worst.
It definitely was not the best place to adore a living sports legend.
But a week after the fight, sportsman Manny Piñol, former governor of North Cotabato, reported that he had experienced another incredible incident outside the Cotai Arena on fight day.
It was that of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also being mobbed by fans.
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If sports fanatics had pressed upon Jaworski to have a selfie or seek his autograph, Piñol said he did not have to guess what they wanted from Duterte.
Piñol said he sensed a swirling clamor to get Duterte to say, Yes, he would seek the presidency in 2016.
In the process, Piñol said he also felt his countrymen’s hunger for a firm, courageous leader, one who could make a real-life difference, not just another elected lame-duck result of the Filipino’s hysterically sentimental nature.
Piñol was noncommital when asked if the incident outside the boxing arena at the Venetian Macao could at least make Duterte reconsider his adamant stand not to seek the presidency, no matter what.
He didn’t dare hazard a guess.
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A win is a win, regardless of its low caliber or lack of class, so one Pacquiao diehard swore he didn’t mind anymore if victory came as a result of a messy lopsided match-up.
Bob Arum promised a masterpiece, the Pacquiao devotee explained, but added it was no longer Manny’s fault if the bout ended up overhyped but improperly cooked.
Pacquiao worked hardest to prepare for the challenge.
If he failed to dish out his best, it was also observed by several keen-eyed critics that Pacquiao, visibly strong, lacked the proper generalship and ring control he would be needing if he hoped to trap or corner Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their projected dream bout.
That was all speculation, the Pacquiao fanatic cried, because, if anything clear surfaced the other Sunday in Macau, it was the fact that Bob Arum has slid into a cheap fictionist from the sly matchmaker of old.
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