GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Manny Pacquiao made the short walk back to his enclave Sunday night moving as if he had just gone through 12 punishing rounds of championship boxing.
Minus the cuts and bruises and a few minor aches and pains, Pacquiao looked drained and exhausted.
Who wouldn’t be?
He had just played two full basketball games and hardly kept himself on the bench as he led his PBA D-League squad to a rousing win over a selection from Davao.
Pacquiao groaned and put his right hand on the upper part of his chest, wincing and then complaining about a mild pain that he said has affected his shooting touch.
“Plyometrics (training),” he said, referring to the routine that he receives from conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
Aside from the non-stop running on the court, Pacquiao had also worked out the day before as his training for the Nov. 23 clash with Chris Algieri in Macau took a notch with the start of the sparring sessions under the watchful eyes of cornerman Freddie Roach.
Despite the discomfort, Pacquiao managed to play a vital role in his team’s win, sinking four free throws in the dying seconds to ice the game.
But Pacquiao’s face lit up as he realized that one of his cherished dreams is days from becoming a reality.
“Lalaro talaga ako,” Pacquiao said.
But as to how many minutes he will see action for his Kia Sorento team this Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan remains a mystery.
Still, one thing is clear.
The 35-year-old fighting congressman will suit up and his mere arrival at the venue will have the trappings of his lofty status.
After touching down in Manila, Pacquiao will take to the skies on the way to Bocaue to avoid the horrendous traffic around the metro.
Obviously, Pacquiao doesn’t want to take the risk of being caught in a jam.
“Helicopter,” he said as he looks forwards to avenging a pre-season loss to fellow expansion team Blackwater.
“Kaya namin ‘yan,” he said.
Told about the possibility of getting himself injured, something that will jeopardize his upcoming fight, Pacquiao quickly brushed it off.
“If you don’t have strong faith, you worry,” Pacquiao said before playing chess with a Manila-based scribe who gladly engaged him.
After a few matches, Pacquiao rose from his seat, bade everyone good night and headed towards his room.
This time, there was a slight bounce on his steps.