(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Freddie Roach wants no less than Joe Chavez, the legendary cutman, to work Manny Pacquiao’s corner when the Filipino superstar faces Marco Antonio Barrera on Oct. 6. in Las Vegas.

“Yes, once again, Joe will be on our side,” said Roach of the old and tested cutman who has worked for Pacquiao thrice – twice against Erik Morales and once against Hector Velasquez.

“He’s a great cutman that’s why we want him. We’ve worked with him before,” added the American trainer.

When Pacquio fought Morales the first time, it was Lenny de Jesus who worked on the Filipino’s nasty cut suffered in the fifth round. And he did a very good job helping Pacquiao last the distance.

Against Jorge Solis last April, it was Joe Souza who handled the cut, which Pacquiao suffered in the sixth round. Roach took on the role himself when Pacquiao faced Oscar Larios in Manila last year.

Chavez is the official cutman of Oscar dela Hoya. And he’s also one of the best wrappers, if not the best, in the business.

“I mold it to the hand. I use my imagination to think of ways to wrap a hand. I make changes. You have to protect their hands. You wouldn’t send a soldier to war with a dirty rifle,” Chavez once said.

Pacquiao wraps up his training in Cebu City today with a sparring session that, according to Roach, should last no more than 10 rounds. Then late in the afternoon, Team Pacquiao should be in Manila.

A press conference is scheduled Saturday morning at The Fort, and Pacquiao is expected to report on his training. By lunch time, he’d be at the Wild Card Gym in Parañaque for a brief workout.

Pacquiao leaves for Los Angeles on Saturday evening for the final push, a one-week training at the Wild Card Gym, and a few more days at the IBA Gym in Las Vegas on the week of the fight.

Mamiit, Taino open RP quest vs Kuwait Friday, September 21, 2007

(STAR) KUWAIT CITY – The Philippines embarks on the third phase of its ambitious bid to join the best nations in Davis Cup competitions this weekend when it tangles with Kuwait in the finals of the Asia-Oceania Group II here.

The Filipinos, led by Fil-American ATP campaigners Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino, battle the Kuwaitis in a best-of-five matches starting today with no less than a seat in the premier division of the zone, the Group I, at stake.

The Group I champions from all the zones earn qualifying ties for the World Group, composed of the top 16 nations in the world.

The draw for the tie was to be held yesterday with the Philippines’ non-playing captain Martin Misa and coach Chris Cuarto fielding in Mamiit as the No. 1 player and Taino, the No. 2, for the opening singles match.

Mamiit is billed to meet Kuwait No. 2 Ahmad Muhammad while Taino faces No. 1 Mohammad Al Ghareeb. The draw will determine who will play first in the matches set at 10 a.m. (3 p.m. in Manila) and 1 p.m. (6 p.m. in Manila).

“This is it. The guys are raring to play and I feel they have adapted to the hot and dry weather condition here. They are all looking forward to good matches,” Misa said.

Patrick John Tierro and Johnny Arcilla were initially nominated to play in the Saturday doubles against Mohammad Khalig Siddig and Ali Ghareeb. The reverse singles will be played Sunday.

The hot and dry weather, which goes to as high as 50 degrees Celsius, is the main concern of the Filipinos, who are going to play for the first time under this condition.

“The hot weather in the Philippines cannot be compared to the weather here. We have hot and humid weather in Manila. Here, it is very different that after playing for five minutes, your throat is already dry,” Arcilla, the most veteran Davis Cupper in the team, observed.

But for Mamiit and Taino, it is just the same for both teams.

“The weather will be a factor alright. But the other guys (Kuwaitis) will also be playing under the same condition and I know they are also not used to playing under this condition as they do not play in the times set for the Davis Cup. I prepared hard for this and I feel good. It will be a battle of who will have the better pacing,” said the 31-year-old Mamiit, who is unbeaten in eight singles matches since last year when he spearheaded the team from Group III to Group II.

“They will definitely have a slight advantage playing in their home court but we will be both exposed to the same elements. Conditioning will be the main factor,” the 32-year-old Taino echoed.

“We came here to play for the country. We prepared hard for this tie and I feel that the boys have adapted to the weather,” Cuarto said of the RP team managed by Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Cuarto also cited the members of the Filipino Tennis Association in Kuwait (FTAK), headed by Tony Dezeda from Bicol, who have been following the progress of the team since it came in last Sunday.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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