CONGRATULATIONS:  MANNY  RECEIVED  SURPRISE  CALL  FROM  FPJ

MANILA, December 14, 2004 
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - From among those who called in to congratulate him for knocking out Thailand’s Fahsan 3K Battery last Saturday, Manny Pacquiao has singled out the short and unexpected conversation he had with Fernando Poe Jr. after the fight.

Pacquiao was still inside the dressing room, freshening up with his family and close aides, when his cellular phone rang. To his surprise, it was FPJ, the king of Philippine movies who ran in last May’s presidential elections, on the other line.

"Tumawag siya at nag-congratulate. At good luck daw sa mga susunod na mga laban ko," was all Pacquiao could remember the action star, who’s being idolized by millions and millions of Filipinos, as telling him.

It was already past 10 in the evening when the call came. Just a couple of hours later, FPJ, while with friends and associates, suffered a massive stroke that has left him in a coma at the St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Pacquiao is also into movies, having starred in a couple of comedy-action films but not one with FPJ, a multi-awarded actor and a certified crowd-drawer. Pacquiao had always hoped to do a movie with his idol.

Curiously, in last May’s elections, Pacquiao campaigned for President Arroyo, whose son, Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, is a close friend and favorite co-star of the flamboyant boxing sensation.

"Ipagdasal na lang natin na gumaling siya agad," Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao was back in his hometown in Gen. Santos yesterday, quietly slipping in at around seven in the morning as the city reeled from Sunday’s bomb explosion that killed at least 15 persons and left more than 50 injured.

Pacquiao was safely resting in his farm when he answered a sportswriter’s call late in the afternoon.

"Hindi naman ako lumalabas dito," said Pacquiao who is all set to celebrate his 26th birthday this Friday. Then it will be the Christmas holidays and his wife Jinky’s own birthday on Jan. 12.

Pacquiao, however, is scheduled to leave for the US on the first week of January to train for his Feb. 26 rematch with Mexican WBA and IBF champion Juan Manuel Marquez either in Las Vegas or Nevada.

"Tuloy naman ang ensayo ko," he added upon the instructions of his American trainer, Freddie Roach, who flew back to the US yesterday.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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