Senate President Vicente Sotto III's relatives join him and Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa in watching the bout at Rockwell CInema in Makati City yesterday.
Michael Varcas
Palace hails Pacquiao victory vs Thurman
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday hailed Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s win against American boxer Keith Thurman, calling it a victory for the entire Filipino nation. 

“We thank Senator Manny for not only bringing honor and glory to our flag, but for once again uniting all Filipinos worldwide with his display of athleticism, power and Filipino pride. Mabuhay ka, Manny! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live, Manny, Long live the Philippines),” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. 

“Pacquiao’s victory is not only his, but of the entire nation. As such, the Palace is one in rejoicing with the Filipino people as the Pambansang Kamao once again puts the flag above the pedestal with his display of tenacity and courage,” he added.

Pacquiao on Sunday defeated Thurman, scoring a split decision victory to become the WBA super welterweight champion at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Scores were 114-113 for Thurman, and 115-112 (twice) for Pacquiao, who knocked Thurman down in the opening round.

Panelo noted how Pacquiao had also made the Philippines proud at the start of the year when he successfully defended his World Boxing Association welterweight belt over another American boxer Adrien Broner.

“Six months later, he doubled this feat as he defeated Keith Thurman today via split decision, even knocking him down in the 1st round,” the spokesman said. 

“Although his opponent, Thurman, is way younger than him, our pound-for-pound King did not show any signs of intimidation as he embodied what Filipino spirit is all about – a fighter,” he added. 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also lauded Pacquiao for being a “model” to Filipinos. 

“You (Pacquiao) have proven time and again that hard work and faith are the one-two punch to winning in life, inside and outside the boxing ring,” Nograles said in a statement. 

 “It seems like that one judge had a poor eyesight. You can clearly see the gap between the two, all those watching can see how Thurman was no match for Sen. Pacquiao,”  Sotto said.

Sotto admitted he was apprehensive during the 5th round, which to him was a draw between the two boxers and the 7th round which he gave to Thurman.

“All the other rounds overpower si Manny, saka matibay (All other rounds, Manny overpowered (Thurman), and he was sturdy). (But the) bottomline (is) age doesn’t matter,” Sotto said.

Sotto said senators will pass a resolution commending Pacquiao for his spectacular victory.

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said he was anxious right before the announcement of the result of the boxing bout between Pacquiao and Thurman.

“Kinabahan ako sa split decision, pero confident ako. I am very proud of my kumpare,” said Dela Rosa, who was subjected to an investigation in 2016 for possible impropriety by the Office of the Ombudsman for watching for free the fight of Pacquiao in Las Vegas in 2016 shortly after he was appointed chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Sen. Joel Villanueva said Pacquiao’s victory has shown the whole world the strength, might and perseverance of a true Filipino athlete.

“Tulad po ng ating mga kababayan na patuloy na lumalaban sa kabila ng hirap ng buhay, hindi po inurungan ng ating Pambansang Kamao ang bawat hamon sa loob at maging sa labas ng ring,” Villanueva said.

Senators Richard Gordon and Sonny Angara also joined in the congratulatory salvo of their colleagues for Pacquiao.

“Manny’s victory serves as an inspiration for great skill earned through constant hard work, great humility and magnanimity for all Filipinos,” Gordon said.

Angara said despite Pacquiao’s “vintage” victory, the lawmaker would step into the Senate Monday “to join the fight against our ancient enemies – hunger, joblessness, poverty.”

Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said “a Pacquiao fight smells of glory and country, not blood, not money.”

With Pacquiao’s career embezzled with much accolade and acclaim, Zubiri said the veteran boxer could fill boxing books with his distinct winning strategies and style.

Pacquiao’s colleagues at the House of Representatives – Congressmen Mikee Romero of party-list 1Pacman, Jericho Nograles of Partido ng Bayaning Atleta, Alfredo Garbin Jr. of Ako Bicol, Strike Revilla of Cavite and Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar – all expressed their gratitude to Pacquiao for giving the country honor once again.

Wounded soldiers, PNP elated

Wounded soldiers, joined by actors Robin Padilla and Matteo Guidicelli, watched Pacquiao – also a reservist colonel – at Fort Bonifacio yesterday.

 The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, congratulated Pacquiao on his victory.

 “Senator Pacquiao’s dedication to his craft, hard work, and sacrifice continue to be an inspiration to most of us Filipinos, especially in the military organization,” he said.

 PNP deputy spokeswoman Lt. Col. Kimberly Molitas said the 190,000-strong police force is one with the nation in jubilation over Pacquiao’s latest triumph.

“We share the triumph of our people’s champ with every Filipino who cheered and prayed for this latest honor for the country,” she said in a statement.  – With Delon Porcalla, Micahel Punongbayan, Emmanuel Tupas, Jose Rodel Clapano

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