Manny Pacquiao: Delivering solid punches for sports development

(I wrote this story seven years ago for the April 2004 issue of PLDT’s ACC:ESS Magazine. Manny Pacquiao fans may be interested. Too bad I couldn’t find my picture with him.)

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Being a champ has its rewards. Money, popularity, respect, admiration and fulfillment may be all a person could ever want. No doubt Manny Pacquiao has all of these. For him, however, there is a different kind of fulfillment he continues to seek.

Through his Emmanuel Pacquiao Foundation, Manny is not only helping the country develop its new breed of champions and excellent sportsmen but also recognize and support retired athletes as well.

Nakakalimutan na sila,” lamented Manny. “Minsan sinisiraan pa.

The two-year-old foundation, which is based in Barangay Dadiangas in South General Santos City, aims to promote boxing as a professional sport. It supports programs that seek to develop boxers, giving them opportunities to hone their skills and achieve their dreams. It awards scholarships to promising athletes and grants security benefits to retired athletes who once brought honor to the country but are now neglected.

Boxing, unlike other sports, is a high-risk sport. There is a chance that a boxer could get killed in the ring or develop internal injuries that are not easily detected and which could kill without warning some days, months or years later.

The families of many boxers are usually left with nothing when the boxers retire or when something unfortunate happens to them.

Not all boxers make it big like Manny Pacquiao. Not all manage to rake in millions and not all who earn the millions know how to invest them wisely to provide them with a decent living when they retire.

The scenario is the same for many other athletes in different fields.

Hindi lang boxing sinusuportahan ko. Sumusuporta ako sa billiards, sa basketball, basta kahit anong sports kasi yan lang ang solusyon para maiwasan ng kabataan ang masasamang bisyo,” Manny explained.

He does not believe in just giving enough of the right advice to the youth about avoiding drugs and vices.

Bukas, makalawa wala na yan,” he said. “Ganon tayong mga Pilipino eh. Yung mga bata, pag may sports, sila na mismo ang iiwas sa bisyo.”

With the new special edition call cards featuring Manny Pacquiao, the boxing champ is giving hope to his fellow athletes. Under the agreement with PLDT, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cards goes to his foundation and its projects.

With so much given to this talented sportsman, the call to give back to society some of the blessings he continues to receive has become hard to ignore.

Manny Pacquaio is the 2nd exemplary Filipino to be featured on the PLDT Touch Card.  Exemplary Filipinos are those who have brought honor and glory to the Philippines in their fields of expertise.  They continue to inspire the nation and make a difference in the lives of Filipinos.  The 1st exemplary Filipino to appear in the Touch Card was former Senator and hero, Ninoy Aquino.

PLDT, being the leading telecommunications company and having the most innovative products and services the country, has decided to have Manny, a world champion in boxing, as one of its endorsers for its call cards.

Like Manny, PLDT has transformed itself into a very aggressive and quick player in the telecommunications business. From ordinary fixed line phone services to cellular phones, satellite communications, Internet, data networking, and call centers, PLDT has pursued opportunities and continues to remain the country’s No. 1 telecommunications company.

The perfect fit between Manny Pacquiao and PLDT can also be seen with how the two became the No. 1 in the their respective fields through years of experience and preparation. Manny with his very demanding physical regimen since starting out with boxing at 12-years-old, and PLDT with its challenging and yet illustrious 75 years of service to the Filipino people.

Manny, through his foundation, is also doing his part in helping fellow Filipinos and the country in realizing the dream of economic prosperity and commitment to excellence. As for PLDT, it has been supporting many worthwhile causes that help the less fortunate in society. The Company, for example, continues to support the livelihood projects of Philippine Business for Social Progress by contributing a certain part of its income every year to the organization.

Aside from Manny, PLDT has also tied up with other celebrities for the call cards where other foundations and socially-oriented non-profit organizations received portions of the proceeds from the sales of call cards. They include singer-actress Jolina Magdangal for the Make-A-Wish Foundation Philippines and singer Gary Valenciano for the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund or UNICEF.

With Manny, PLDT is sure to score another victory with its call cards and the foundation that will benefit from the sales. And, speaking of victory, it is surprising to note that a world champ like Manny considers his most memorable fight not one of victory but of defeat.

Nung natalo ako nung 1999. Ang kalaban ko si Majern Matire from Thailand. Hindi ko pati nakuha yung timbang ko kaya tinanggal sa akin yung korona,” rued Manny.

However, as his win-loss-draw record of 38-2-1 and his collection of championship belts would show, Manny believes that there can be glory after defeat. In the same way, as Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan would say, PLDT, with its own setbacks and difficulties throughout its 75-year history, believes that “the best is yet to come.”

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