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Sports icons win, lose in polls

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He went to bed as the sun was about to rise Tuesday.

About eight hours later, Manny Pacquiao was up and the first thing he did was say a little prayer and give thanks to the fruitful political campaign that awarded him a seat in the Senate.

Pacquiao was getting ready to give himself a big break after two months of training and weeks of seemingly endless sorties around the country.

He asked for one thing: a basketball.

“I’m going to work out,” said Pacquiao, who has amassed more than 15 million votes, good enough for eighth place in the standings.

But while the now-retired boxing star seemed cool, calm and collected that playing hoops was the first thing he wanted to do as soon as he steps out of his room in his mansion in General Santos City, the Sarangani congressman called on fellow candidates – winners as well as losers – to unite “and help in unifying the nation.”

“The past few months have caused a lot of hurt and pain not only among simple acquaintances but among old friends,” said Pacquiao. “When you have hatred in your heart, it will be hard to join others in building our nation.”

Pacquiao ran under the banner of Vice-President Jojo Binay but is expected to ease well into the good graces of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, who are both from Mindanao.

There were other marquee names from sports that were successful including Dr. Mikee Romero of Globalport who is making heads turn as his 1-Pacman party list is currently third overall with well over 1 million votes.

Manny Lopez, former amateur boxing chief and ex-Philippine Olympic Committee first vice-president, is headed for victory for the congressional race in the first district of Manila.

But not everyone in the local sporting scene is as fortunate as Pacquiao and a few others.

Big losers include reelectionist Pampanga congressman and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Harry Angping and former POC vice-president Monico Puentevella.

Angping is lagging behind Yul Servo in the third district of Manila, while Puentevella lost for reelection as Bacolod City mayor to one-time ally Bing Leonardia.

Francis Zamora, the former La Salle cager, was beaten by Guia Gomez for the mayoralty of San Juan, while former taekwondo jin Ali Atienza got smashed by Honey Lacuna for Manila vice mayor.

Guiao meanwhile was the first to break the news to a few sportswriters that he is way behind in the congressional race in the first district of Pampanga after conducting the team’s practice session yesterday at the Northeast Green Hills in San Juan.

“Talo e,” said Guiao, breaking a smile while shaking hands – a clear sign he is fine with the results as the 57-year-old coach suffered his first in the elections since he entered politics 15 years ago.

Now he is free from public office responsibility, Guiao intends to spend more quality time with his family, attend to several small businesses and focus on his job as coach of the Elasto Painters.

The previous election forced Guiao to miss a few practice sessions with the team, and the team’s Game 2 win against San Miguel Beer during the semifinal round last April 26.

“The players and the coaches, they themselves covered for me while I’m away. It’s my turn now to work full time. I don’t want to dwell on the distraction, what’s done is done, what’s over is over. We’ll take it from there,” said Guiao. (With reports from Waylon P. Galvez)