Category Archives: Sports

New Zealander scores KO win in pro debut

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Lanky Benny Jade Slight debuted with a big knockout victory over Michael Manambay in the first round Saturday evening at the Oval Plaza Gym here.

The New Zealander Slight connected with a left uppercut that brought Manambay to the seat of his pants after.

Benny Jade slight of New Zealand connects with a left uppercut that dropped Michael Manambay to win by KO 2:59 in the first round.PHOTO BY NOEL NACION
Benny Jade slight of New Zealand connects with a left uppercut that dropped Michael Manambay to win by KO 2:59 in the first round.PHOTO BY NOEL NACION

Manambay was counted out with just one second left in the first round.

The two earlier traded heavy bombs and body punches and were looking for a knockout.

Manambay staggered Slight midway in the opening canto but the New Zealander refused to buckle.

After connecting with several combinations to the head that dropped the mouthpiece of Manambay, Slight went for the kill to score the KO win.

In the main event, substitute Adam Dui Abdulhamid avenged his first career loss with a unanimous win over former tormentor JR Mendoza.

The taller Abdulhamid, pitching in for the injured Harmonito dela Torre, used his reach advantage to keep Mendoza at bay.

Dela Torre was a late scratch after he injured his right shoulder.

Meanwhile, all 7 boxers from the Sanman Promotion swept all their assignments in the 7-fight boxing card with Romero Duno and Mark Angelo Plaña stopping Rey Liparanon and Marwin Cristuta, respectively.

Marquil Salvaña suffered cut in his left eyebrow due to accidental headbutt but prevailed over game Davie Ugbamin over six rounds.

Other Sanman boxers who scored decision victories were Ronnie Tanallon and Raymart Gaballo who separately outsmarted Jonathan Rimablanca and Paolo Perono.

The boxing card promoted by Sanman Promotions was part of the patronal fiesta of the Bula Parish which celebrated feastof the Black Sto. Niño on January 15.

Sanman Promotion is owned by brothers JR and JC Manangquil and Dexter Tan.

Filipino duo captures 2nd Pacquiao int’l billiard crown

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (December 17) – The tandem of Romeo Silvano and Jordan Legaspi twice came from behind to catch up with their Taiwanese opponents before clinching the doubles title in the US$100,000 2nd Manny Pacquiao 10-Ball International Tournament held at SM City here.

Jordan Legaspi (right) and Romeo Silvano (foreground) are the doubles champion in the 2nd MP 10-Ball International Tournament.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Jordan Legaspi (right) and Romeo Silvano (foreground) are the doubles champion in the 2nd MP 10-Ball International Tournament.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

With the game on the line, Taiwanese Hsu Kai Lun scratched the cue ball on the 21st rack of the race-to-11 finals which the Filipinos took advantage for a thrilling 11-10 win.

It was the only time the Filipinos led but it was for the US$ 40,000 champions’ purse.

A dejected Cheng Yu Hsuan, who also scratched the cue ball during his break in the 19th rack, said he was depressed and blamed himself for the miscue. They were then ahead 10-8 and would have clinched the crown if they won in their break.

Romeo Silvano lines up his shot as the two Taiwanese player watch from their seats.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Romeo Silvano lines up his shot as the two Taiwanese player watch from their seats.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Hsu blankly stared on the table thinking of the opportunity that slipped their hands after Silvano closed out the match.

The Taiwanese pair raced to a 4-0 and 6-2 leads before the Filipinos knotted the match at 6-6.

They were one rack of winning the title, 10-7, but Silvano holed a difficult bank shot of the 2-ball to clean-up and won the 18th rack.

The Filipinos proceeded to win the next four racks to disappoint the pair of 26-year old Taiwanese.

Philboxing’s Dong Secuya said the turning point of the match was the magical shot of Silvano of the 2-ball in the 18th rack that nullified the safety shot of the Taiwanese.

It was a fitting triumph for Silvano and Legaspi who ousted the defending doubles titlists Jeffrey de Luna and Jeffrey Ignacio in the quarterfinals.

Legaspi was teary eyed when interviewed by reporters after their riveting finals victory.

Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes, who watched the finals from the sidelines, said the tournament hosted and sponsored by Rep. Manny Pacquiao yielded many young Filipino talents in the game he made popular in the country.

Lalo na sa Mindanao, ang daming magagaling,” Reyes said.(Specially in Mindanao, there are plenty of good billiard players)

Reyes and his partner Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante lost in the Round of 32.

But Reyes earlier crowned himself the singles champion with breathtaking 11-10 triumph over Demosthenes Pulpul in the championship match.

Rep. Pacquiao and his doubles partner Ronie Alcano reached the round of 16 but lost to Oliver Medenilla and Raymond Faraon 9-4.

Medenilla and Faraon however fell to Hsu and Cheng in the quarterfinals, 6-9.

‘Bata’ Reyes shows why he is still the man to beat

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes showed why he is a legend – a magician who pulls from his bagful of tricks – overcoming challenges from emerging and young Filipino cue artists to capture the US$50,000 2nd Manny Pacquiao International 10-Ball tournament in a thrilling finals match against an opponent young enough to be his son.

With seeded and top favorites falling in the early rounds, Reyes restored order but not after escaping a breathtaking 11-10 triumph over Demosthenes Pulpul in the championship match.

Efren "Bata" Reyes can still dominate against opponents young enough to be his sons.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Efren “Bata” Reyes can still dominate against opponents young enough to be his sons.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Reyes started the final day of the individual event with a 9-7 close victory over former doubles champion John Morra of Canada in the Round of 16.

He again held the breath of the crowd with an equally suspenseful win over 22-year old Oliver Medenilla of Camarines Sur who is now based in Dubai as assistant coach of the UAE team, 9-8 to book a seat in the semifinals.

With just 20 minutes rest, Reyes faced Benjie Guevarra in the semifinals and found himself in a 0-4 hole before rallying and wining in a close 9-6 score.

Guevarra earlier claimed the scalp of Kiamco in the Round of 16 before beating Corteza in the quarterfinal to set a semifinal showdown with Reyes.

With Lee Van Corteza, Alex Pagulayan and Warren Kiamco losing in the Round of 16, only Reyes remained among the crowd favorites heading into the quarterfinals.

Quarterfinal victim Medenilla said he succumbed to pressure in the 17th and final rack against the living billiard legend Reyes with the score tied, 8-8.

“My first time to meet him,” Medenilla said.

Reyes on the other hand said the tournament has produced many future Filipino world billiard champions.

The quarterfinals became an all-Filipino affair after Rodney Morris also lost to Michael Feliciano.  Feliciano however succumbed to Pulpul in the quarterfinal.

Magagaling na rin (They are good),” Reyes said.

Reyes won US$13,000 as champion.

The tournament which was hosted and sponsored by Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani attracted 120 players with several former world pool champions in attendance.

Also among the notables who lost in the elimination and the knockout games were world rated Mika Immonen of Finland and defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany.

Another former world 9-Ball champion who was eliminated was Francisco Bustamante who lost to Reyes in the Round of 32.

Meanwhile, the doubles tourney with a total prize of US$100,000 will start today (December 13).

Reyes, Immonen breeze past, Pacquiao falls in opening day billiard tilt

Sentimental favorite Efren “Bata’ Reyes had little trouble trashing youthful Jerome Adolfo from Cebu, 9-3, to lead first round winners at the 2nd Manny Pacquiao International 10-Ball Championship which opened Monday, December 8, at the SM City General Santos activity center.

Efren 'Bata' Reyes easily breezes past Jerome Adolfo in the first round of the 2nd Manny Pacquiao 10-Ball International Championship.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes easily breezes past Jerome Adolfo in the first round of the 2nd Manny Pacquiao 10-Ball International Championship.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Adolfo looked he was about to give Reyes a good competition by evening up the score after four games, 2-2. But it was downhill from there on for Reyes who captured the next 8 games 7-1 to lead early winners.

Also breezing past the first round was 2009 10-Ball Champion Mika Immonen who easily beat John Salazar 9-2.

Manny Pacquiao graciously accepted first round loss.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Manny Pacquiao graciously accepted first round loss.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Tournament host and sponsor Manny Pacquiao narrowly lost to John Plunkett from Seattle, Washington 9-8 after missing the 7 ball in the 17th and final game.

Pacquiao graciously congratulated Plunkett after the game.

Canadian John Morra who was runner-up along with German Thornsten Hormman in the 1st Pacman 10-Ball tournament held last September took a little longer to beat Mohammad al-Shamari, 9-4.

Other first round winners were Johann Chua who also handily won over Rodrigo Yucamco (9-3) , Genesis Ouano who edged Lim Wei Kok of Brunei (9-4) and Brunei’s Ahmad Taufiq who blasted John Bautista, 9-2.

Others who were scheduled to see action late yesterday were Rodolfo Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, Warren Kyamco, Ronnie Alcano and Hormann who was individual champion in the September 1st Pacman 10-Ball tournament.

The 9-day double knockout tournament has attracted top players from around the world but notables absences were top players from Chinese-Taipei and other top European players like Ralph Souquet who all opted to play in their respective billiard circuits.

The US$150,000 tournament will run through December 17, in time for the birthday of Pacquiao who will turn 36.

The individual champion will get the top prize of US$30,000 while the doubles winners will split the US$40,000 champion purse.

Aside from billiards, Pacquiao also hosted the recently concluded amateur boxing challenge.

Amateur standout Paras leads Pacquiao boxing challenge winners

He may not ring a bell outside of General Santos City but Vince Paras has already been featured in Al Jazeera and GMA 7 television special.

The next big thing for Gensan boxing.  Vince Paras pounding a makeshift punching bag while being filmed by Al Jazeera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
The next big thing for Gensan boxing. Vince Paras pounding a makeshift punching bag while being filmed by Al Jazeera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

On Friday, December 5, he displayed why he could one day be the toast of boxing world. Like his idol Manny Pacquiao.

Paras of Gensan Team A made a short workout over Franzcar Muyco of Gensan Team B to capture the gold medal in the 48-kilogram junior boys class in the recently concludedManny Pacquiao Boxing Sports Challenge

It did not take very long for Paras to warm up.

By the middle of the first round, he stunned Muyco with crisp and powerful combinations prompting the referee to make the mandatory 8-count.

Vince Paras connects with his right over Franzcar Muyso.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Vince Paras connects with his right over Franzcar Muyso.Pic by Edwin Espejo

In the second round, he stepped up his attacks and sent his taller opponent to the canvass. Soon thereafter, he went for the kill and drove Muyso into the ropes where he pounded his outclassed foe prompting the referee to stop the fight by technical knockout.

Paras also won by stoppages in his preliminary and quarterfinal bouts and added another victim to his reputation has a knockout artist.

Other winners were Karl Joshua Claros of Pacman Labangal Team who won by unanimous decision over Joffer Samar of Cotabato in 38-kg school boys division o the scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.

The gold medal in the 40-kg division went to Arjay Recopelacion who won by 30-26 on all three scorecards of the judges.

Also earning a similar the same scores in the 42-kg class was Kiths Gerasol of Ctoabato Province over Pacman Labangal’s Dhan Ariel Adolfo.

In the 44-kg school boys division Reymart Alicaba won by unanimous decision over Gerald Samuel of Cagayan de Oro.

Cagayan de Oro’s Francis Jay Diaz avenged his teammate’s losses by decisioning Sajed Huinda of Lutayan Team for the 46-kg junior boys class.

Other winners in the junior boys division were Junil Pamisa of Cagayan de Oro who won over South Cotabato’s Allen Domalogdog in 50-kg class.

In the 49-kg youth boys category, Ken Jordan won by stoppage over Samuel Salva of Cagayan de Oro City.

Capping the 8-team Pacquaio Boxing Sport Challenge winners is Pacman Labangal’s John Paul Bentoso who won over Cagayan de Oro’s Jason Daming by split decision.

Rep. Manny Pacquiao later personally handed the medals and cash reward to all the winners at the atrium of Robinson’s Place where the tournament was held.

PACQUIAO WATCH: Reasons why it will happen – the Pacman vs Moneyman fight

It is a fight that has been talked about over the last 5 or 6 years.

It almost came close only to vanish in thin air.

As the years went by, prospects of it happening also waned.

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could soon be facing each other for a dramatic and compelling fight that will eclipse many marks.FILE FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could soon be facing each other for a dramatic and compelling fight that will eclipse many marks.FILE FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

But things now appear to be shaping up for what could be the biggest fight – money-wise – in all history of individual sports.

An insider intimated that the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Manny Pacquiao could happen in the fall next year – November.

And it will likely happen at the Madison Square Garden or the 45,000-seat Yankee Stadium in New York – the old Mecca of boxing – where boxing greats are made and unmade.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinbson, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and even our very own Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde all appeared in the best and historic boxing arena ever in the US.

And Rocky Marciano – the guy whose 49-0 professional Mayweather is trying to break – was a favorite of New York although he came from Boston, Massachusetts.

If it happens, and is likely to be announced soon, the fight could potentially break all-time record purses as well as pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.

Compelling reasons

So what made or will make both Mayweather and Pacquiao agree to a possibly US$1-billion boxing blockbuster hit?

For one, it is the most compelling fight that can equal, if not surpass, all great boxing rivalries. No, make that all other fights.

Second, the two have run out of competition. Competitive competition, that is.

Third, it is the biggest money there is out there to make for both of them. And, for that matter, all the rest of sports history in a single event.

Fourth, for the sheer economics of it aside from the individual purses. Over the last 2 years, both fighters have seen their marketability slide over their failure to face each other. Their PPV numbers are down and the PPV carriers, including two of the biggest Cable TV producers, can no longer continue to guarantee their purses without recouping their expenses.

Fifth, time is running out and Father Time is catching up with both fighters. But although they are both past their peak, they still have the competitive juices to make a memorable and unforgettable fight.

Sixth, and the most important, the boxing fans all over the world are still clamoring for it.

And seventh, I need to watch that fight.

Yes, mark that event in your calendar because once it happens, it may never come again.

Even if they fight a couple of more after their first date next year, those rematches could no longer eclipse the drama, excitement and compelling story of a rivalry-that-never-was but is now shaping into a fight that is never-too-late-to-happen that will come in November.

Last night, I received a text from a lawyer-friend telling me to make the necessary hotel arrangements again in the Big Apple!

Enjoy!

Sarangani to host Paragliding Accuracy World Cup opening leg in March 2015

They never expect it to come sooner.

But next year, the Philippines will host one of the 6 international legs of Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC) with Sarangani serving as site of the growing international aerial sports.

Sarangani earlier hosted the first Philippine International Paragliding Accuracy Competition in October in which Taiwan’s Luis Liu of Taiwan came from behind to narrowly edge Yoshiki Oka of Japan and capture the individual title.

Department of Tourism regional director Nelly Nita Dillera said they welcome the decision of PGAWC to award the Philippines as host of one of the World Cup legs.

Sarangani will host the opening leg of the 2015 PGAWC in March next year.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Sarangani will host the opening leg of the 2015 PGAWC in March next year.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

“This only proves that our paragliding site is world-class. We are very excited to host the World Cup,” Dillera said.

Dillera said the event will be held on March 27 to 29 next and wills serve as the opening leg of the 2015 World Cup.

She added that they will enroll the international competition in the DOT’s ‘Visit Philippines 2015’ tourism campaign.

“At least 30 countries will be represented in the event. The number could swell into 50,” according to the DOT regional director.

ASAP however has lower figures in the possible number of country participants – from a low of 13 to a high of 15 countries.

Best fly site in the country
With 300 days of flying opportunities throughout the year, Sarangani is becoming a popular destination for paraglide pilots and enthusiasts.

“Wind consistency and directions are major factors in considering the fly site,” Randell Raymundo said.

Raymundo is the president of Air Sports Adventure Philippines (ASAP) which organized the 2st Philippine IPAC event October.

He described the fly site in Barangay Siguil in Maasim as “almost perfect.”

Raymundo earlier said teh Philippines could host a World Cup event in 2016 but the recent decision of PGAWC will boost the standing of the Philippines as premier paragliding destination.

The takeoff site is located in a mountain top some 1,000 meters above sea level offering a full picturesque view of Sarangani Bay with a wide but tricky landing site some 700 meters below.(Organizers has correct the heights – they are 1,000 and 700 feet respectively)

International pilots who joined the October IPAC event said the flying course is so far the best in the Philippines and could rival other paragliding sites in the world.

Luke Armbreuster from the US who was the tournament’s safety officer said the fly site is one of the best he has seen in the country.

“The landing area is a little bit tricky because of the unpredictable wind direction but it is okay,” the American said.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon who supported the IPAC event said next year’s World Cup leg will again put the province in the international map as one of Mindanao’s best tourism destinations.

Pacquiao Watch: Back but not quite

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – When was the last time Manny Pacquiao put his opponent on the seat of his pants multiple times en route to a stoppage victory?

In Macau, Sunday afternoon, Pacquiao launched his trademark two-fisted attack against New Yorker Chris Algieri, chasing the lanky Argentinian-American around the ring.

Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does roadwork to build up his stamina in this file foto.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao is back on top but needs the scalp of Mayweather to complete his greatness.Pic by Edwin Espejo

When referee Geno Rodriguez started to give the badly outclassed Algieri the first of 6 mandatory 8-counts, the gallery composed mostly of Filipinos was sensing the old fiery Pacquiao was back.

Half the jam-packed Cotai Arena was up on its feet when, in the sixth round, Pacquiao sent Algieri twice to the canvas. Those were the second and third knockdowns of the fight.

They were anticipating a climactic and dramatic knockout victory.

But it was not meant to be. Despite going down three more times, Algieri was able to finish the fight on both feet.

After absorbing the first telling punch of the evening – a thunderous straight to the body -Algieri was no longer into the fight. In fact, he threatened to run the marathon in his attempts to stay clear of Pacquiao.

Tough for him, there was no escaping Pacquiao inside the square ring that night.

But give Algieri the credit, he was able to ‘roll’ figuratively and literally with Pacquiao’s punches and cushioned the impact of those blows. Had he mixed it up with Pacquiao, the fight the fight would not have lasted more than three rounds.

And so Algieri made losers of those who bet against him via knockout.

Which brings us to the question, is the old Pacquiao back?

Pacquiao himself will admit that no matter how hard he tries, he will no longer be able to bring back his old self – the fighter who trashed the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and David Diaz. The man who made mincemeat of Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. The Pacquiao of old who turned silly such boxing greats as Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley.

Yes, Pacquiao has lost a step. Make that several steps.

But put in front of him any fighter in his weight class and an old Pacquiao is far and above the class of young Rioses, Algieris and Bradleys – any time.

There is only one boxer who can make Pacquiao look really old. But he is not fighting him because it might just be the kind of fight that will bring back the Pacquiao of old.

Man, if Pacquiao was old against Algieri, how scary will it be if he digs deep and finds his elixir once Floyd Mayweather Jr agrees to fight him?

Pacquiao Watch: People to miss in Macau

Three longtime fixtures in Manny Pacquiao fights will be sorely missed on November 23 in Macau.

Eminent boxing guru Hermie Rivera says he is skipping this fight in view of advices from his doctors to refrain from strenuous activities. A 13-hour or so flight from LA to Hong Kong or Macau indeed will be stressful for the witty man of boxing sidelines.
Manong Hermie, as I defer to him, Ka Recah Trinidad and me had beautiful moments and exchanges in the media room in Macau last year while we covered the Pacquiao-Rios fight. Unlike in General Santos a few years back (in 2010), however, Manong Hermie and me did not have the luxury of being with the company of the Philippine’s favorite beer –San Miguel Beer and SML – in Macau.

Somebody took this blurred image of us three: Manong Hermie (left) and Ka Recah (right) last year in Macau
Somebody took this blurred image of us three: Manong Hermie (left) and Ka Recah (right) last year in Macau

I however take solace that, with Ed Alinea thrown into the crowd, I was the youngest gatecrasher to the company of sports writing greats.

Another fixture, longtime Pacquiao lawyer Franklin ‘Jeng’Gacal Jr, will also be missed for the 3rd straight fight of the Filipino boxing icon. Gacal suffered a near fatal stroke weeks before the November 25 Pacquiao-Rios fight. I was among the early visitors of Gacal when he was rushed to the intensive care unit at the St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Gacal also failed to watch the Pacquiao-Bradley II fight in Las Vegas.

Before he was admitted to a clinical trial for a medical breakthrough in Arizona, Jeng said he will definitely go to Macau. Many are hoping to see him there for the first time since his medical case. Unfortunately, he had to leave for the US early this month for a 2-month clinical care.

Another permanent figure whose incisive reporting will be sorely missed is Chino Trinidad.

Chino and Pacquiao had a falling out weeks after the Pacquiao-Rios fight in Macau last year. Me and Chino, whose father Recah was the first sports writer I followed when I was growing up idolizing Rolando Navarette and Robert Jaworksi, first personally met in Macau after having been long time Facebook friends.

After that falling out, Chino said he has had enough of anything that has to do with Pacquiao.

Their presence or absence will surely not go unnoticed and unlamented.

With a new coterie of advisers, hangers on and entourage, Pacquiao will obviously not bother his self in missing them.

Pacquiao is slated to make his grand arrival in the Venetian on November 18 and will hold a press conference shortly thereafter along with Chris Algieri. The weigh in will be held at Cotai Arena, venue of the fight on November 22, a Saturday.

Pacquiao will leave on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight on November 17 and will immediately fly home after the post-fight press conference.

Pacquiao Watch: Will Manny pay tribute?

Two significant events will happen on November 23.

It will be D-day for 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as he tries to re-stock himself for a possible clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr in his last few remaining fights.

Pacquiao returns to the scene where he picked up the pieces after his shock defeat to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.

Fighting in Macau for the second time in as many years, Pacquiao will be a heavy favorite against the New Yorker with Argentinian roots Chis Algieri.

Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does the roadwork to build up stamina.  Image taken during training for his Rios fight.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does the roadwork to build up stamina. Image taken during training for his Rios fight.Pic by Edwin Espejo

As in the past, all media attention will again be focused on him.  Pacquiao, over the last decade, has become a great equalizer when in comes to television viewing – at least for those who cannot afford to pay live cable TV feed. Regardless, he becomes a unifying figure when he fights for his own glory – and country.

One only wishes coverage over his fight will not drown the one inglorious crime in all history of journalism in the world.

On the same day five years ago and practically the same hour he fights Algieri in Macau, some 32 members of the local media here in Region 12 and 26 others were wailing, crying and begging for their lives.

Their cries were forever muted – silenced – with a prolonged staccato of automatic fire.

At least 14 of those journalists had covered Pacquiao.

They were victims of the Ampatuans whose patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr, Pacquiao used to play ‘mahjong’ with when the Filipino boxing icon was still a confessed high roller.

That blood-soaked date in Philippine history – November 23 – came days after Pacquiao recorded his last knockout victory against Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao paid visit to the wake of the General Santos City-based journalists and media workers who lost their lives and console with their families when he returned triumphantly.  He also handed out cash assistance even if some of the victims were sympathetic to the other camp in local politics.  By that time, Pacquiao had already filed his certificate of candidacy.  He was then running for a seat in the Philippine House of Representative.

A lot has changed since then.  Pacquiao is now a congressman, albeit almost part time only.  He is well on his way to further political heights and could one day become senator.

But there are things that have not changed.

Among them, justice continues to elude the victims of the Ampatuan massacre.

On the day the whole nation watches him as journalist pay homage to their departed colleagues, will Pacquiao pay the victims of his former ally and friend tribute and dedicate his fight for them?

Pacquiao has confessed he is a changed man. Will that extend to the way he dedicates his fight?

After all, the media and the press have also greatly created the image he is now cultivating for himself.