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Fil-Am teen tapped for national anthem

LOS ANGELES – Gail Banawis, a singing sensation from the New York and New Jersey area, will join a group of pastors in the singing of the Philippine national anthem on May 2 when Manny Pacquiao meets Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.

Banawis, 19, has been singing since age seven and is a familiar fixture in Fil-Am events in the East Coast.

The chorale, which sang for Pacquiao in Macau against Chris Algieri, had rehearsed with Banawis over the weekend in an effort to blend in and harmonize with her.

“I am truly grateful,” said Banawis, who actually auditioned last year but didn’t get called.

Like Pacquiao, Banawis is also a Christian and the two immediately made a connection the moment they met.

Through the years, the crème dela crème of Philippine entertainment has been given the chance to sing before a worldwide audience in a Pacquao fight.

Those who have sung the national anthem include Sarah Geronimo, Kyla, Charice, Ciara Sotto and Martin Nievera and Arnel Pineda. (Nick Giongco)