KAMPEON NG MAYNILA, KAMPEON NG BANSA: NATION SET HERO'S WELCOME
LOS ANGELES, September 14, 2005 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao will come home to a hero’s welcome as he arrives tomorrow before a throng of adoring fans expected to greet the ring gladiator from General Santos City.
Pacquiao, back on the world boxing stage after knocking out Hector Velazquez of Mexico in the sixth round at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Saturday, was scheduled to board the Philippine Airlines at the Los Angeles Airport at 10 p.m. Tuesday (Wednesday afternoon in Manila with his wife Jinkee and some members of Team Pacquiao.
From the airport, the 26-year-old Pacquiao will lead a motorcade that will take him to the streets of Manila and Makati. A short visit to Malacanang is also being planned.
"Malaki daw na motorcade," said the Filipino boxer who was originally scheduled to leave the US on Friday.
"Pero wala na ding gagawin dito kaya gusto ko na din umuwi," said Pacquiao, who is scheduled to visit the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood to thank all those who joined him in training for the fight.
Manila Mayor Lito Atienza said the city has prepared a ticker-tape parade for the ring idol, an adopted son of the city, with the Pacquiao entourage expected to be showered with confetti from his fans along the route of the motorcade.
Organizers of the event, headed by Manila Sports Council (Masco) Arnold "Ali" Atienza, have chosen "Kampeon ng Maynila, Kampeon ng Bansa," as the theme for the welcome rites in honor of Pacquiao, a long-time friend of Mayor Atienza.
The city chief has earlier paid tribute to Pacquiao and Rey Bautista and Brian Viloria, who both toppled their respective rivals to complete a sweep of the Filipino boxers in LA.
Pacquiao won the WBC (World Boxing Council) international super featherweight title, Bautista stopped Colombian Felix Flores Murillo, and Viloria won the WBC light-flyweight crown from Mexican Eric Ortiz.
Meanwhie another warm welcome is expected to be accorded the Filipino slugger in his hometown in General Santos.
First Gent: Manny’s win a unifying factor The Philippine Star 09/14/2005
LOS ANGELES–First Gentleman Mike Arroyo has lauded Manny Pacquiao for his resounding victory, which could well serve as a unifying factor for all Filipinos.
"What he did was for the Philippines. Whatever he did there, we’re proud of him. He’s very courageous," said the First Gentleman during Pacquiao’s post-fight celebration.
Arroyo was at ringside along with daughter Luli to personally cheer on the Filipino boxer who went on to knock out Mexican Hector Velasquez at the Staples Center.
The Arroyos and the huge crowd of more than 10,000 watched closely as Pacquiao stopped the Mexican slugger in the sixth round of their super-featherweight bout scheduled for 12.
"His actions were really for the Philippines. All the Filipinos in there were united. We were all united," he added during the party he hosted for Pacquiao and friends.
The First Gentleman cited the role of sports as a unifying factor for the Filipinos.
"When we’re united, we can achieve wonders. Look at that, we had three victories," he said, referring to the similar KO victories of Filipinos Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista and Brian Villoria last Saturday.
The First Gentleman said President Arroyo did call Pacquiao after the fight while the latter was at the dressing room, and personally congratulated him.
"I just don’t know what the President told him. But she called him," he added.
The President is in New York for a United Nations gathering. The First Gentleman will join her there. — Abac Cordero
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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