Even deep in training, Manny Pacquiao won’t allow his “baby” to start rolling the ball without him.
The 8-division world champion, who is preparing to challenge Lucas Matthysse for the Argentinean fighter’s World Boxing Association welterweight crown on July 15, left General Santos City on Monday to grace the opening of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League second conference at Araneta Coliseum on Tuesday.
So as not to affect his timetable, Pacquiao still trained in the afternoon under the supervision of Buboy Fernandez before taking the flight to Manila.
The Datu Cup opens with a double-header featuring the General Santos City Warriors, from Pacquiao’s hometown, against the Marikina Shoemasters at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Mandaluyong El Tigre-Muntinlupa Cagers clash at 9 p.m.
A parade of the 26 competing teams will precede the games. The opening ceremonies and the games will be shown live over ABS-CBN S+A.
Among those joining the festivities are the team muses including Marikina Shoemasters’ Bea Alonzo, Muntinlupa’s Maria Ozawa, Zamboanga Valientes-Family Sardines’ Empress Schuck, Basilan Steel’s Maxine Medina and San Juan Knights’ Rachel Peters.
As a way of giving back to the fans who flocked to the games of the inaugural Anta Rajah Cup, won by the Batangas City-Tanduay Athletics, the MPBL will raffle off 26 motorcycles and a brand-new car.
On Wednesday, the Athletics will tangle with the Quezon City Capitals at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Caloocan Supremos-Pasig Pirates tussle at 9:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Davao Occidental Tigers test their mettle against Imus Bandera at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Laguna Heroes-Zamboanga Valientes tiff at 7:30 p.m.
While Pacquiao is busy with his Senate duties and boxing training, the MPBL will be run by commissioner Kenneth Duremdes, Assistant Commissioner Satar Macantal, operations manager Zaldy Realubit, and team coordinator Emerson Oreta.
Pacquiao, who might still train in Manila on Tuesday, will return to GenSan and resume training on Wednesday.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.