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Palaro athletes to root for Pacquiao

The Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex (DNSTC) will be the venue of perhaps the biggest outdoor gathering of Filipino fans rooting for Manny Pacquiao in the most important fight of his fabled career against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sunday.

And the crowd would be representing the entire country – all 17 regions of them.

“Easily it would be the biggest public viewing ever for a Manny Pacquiao fight,” Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate.

The 2015 Palarong Pambansa hosts have deliberately delayed the games’ opening ceremonies for a day on Monday to give way to the Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight in Las Vegas that is expected to happen at noon Sunday.

But competitions in some of the 17 sports on the Palaro program will start on Sunday for the weeklong Davao del Norte Palaro backed by the Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc., Damosa Land, Davao Packaging Corp., Davao International Container Terminal, Inc. and Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

“There will be four giant LED screens at the DNSTC and we expect all members of each of the delegations from the country’s 17 regions to be there rooting for Manny Pacquiao,” Palaro Organizing Committee Secretariat Chairperson Sofonias Gabonada Jr. said.

The Palaro, supervised by the Department of Education, is the annual grassroots multi-sport competition among students in the primary and secondary level from all of the country’s 17 regions. Attendance is pegged at no less than 7,000 athletes, plus 3,000 officials, coaches and team support and thousands more team support – chaperones, family members and tourists.

“Not only are the participants in the Palaro expected for the public viewing but all of Tagum City and Davao del Norte who are all eager to see Manny Pacquiao beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.,” del Rosario said.