DAVAO DEL NORTE: Despite the unanimous decision loss by Manny Pacquiao to unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr., the young athletes here in the 58th Palarong Pambansa still consider the People’s Champion as their childhood hero.
Athletes, coaches and officials from different regions have witnessed the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in four giant screens inside the vicinity of the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex.
Thousands of young athletes here still expressed their all-out support to Pacquiao who is a symbol of hope and inspiration to them.
“Pacquiao gives us a lot of inspiration even though he lost today,” said 16-year-old long jumper Marlyn Godoy of Southern Tagalog. “He really gave his best in that fight, but it doesn’t define what he accomplished in Philippine sports particularly in boxing.”
Sprinter Christine Joy Ligutan, 15, also of Southern Tagalog said Pacquiao came from a poor family just like many of them. “We heard his humble beginnings and it is really inspiring to see what he has accomplished in life. All of us like to follow the same path.”
Pacquiao started boxing at the age of 14 and became member of the Philippine amateur boxing team.
“We are very blessed that there is somebody like Manny Pacquiao who inspires us to work and train harder,” said 12-year-old boys elementary thrower John Paul Labordo of Caraga Region. “We’re sad that he lost but Pacquiao is always our hero.”
“We are not a boxer but every time Pacquiao fights, we all watch. We really love him because he is a symbol of hope to all aspiring Filipino athletes,” said John Michael Yparraguirre, 13, a discus thrower also from Caraga.
“Despite his loss, Pacquiao remains a hero for Filipino young athletes,” he added.