Manny Pacquiao credits players’ superb condition in Mahindra’s franchise-best 4-0 start

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Manny Pacquiao had one simple explanation in Mahindra’s franchise-record 4th straight victory in the PBA Governors Cup–the players are in superb condition.

Down by as much as 16 points in the third quarter, the Enforcer rode on the 2nd half exploits of import James White and young guards Keith Agovida and Mike DiGregorio to stun tournament favorite Alaska Aces, 101-95 Wednesday night.

“Nahirapan kami sa first, second and third quarter pero nakabawi nung 4th quarter.  Sinabi ko sa kanila na pinili namin yung players na talagang kundisyon at nakuha naman,” Pacquiao said, shortly after Mahindra regained a share of the lead with its franchise-best start 4-0.

The 5-foot-6 Pacquiao had a 3-minute stint late in the first quarter, the first time he played in the PBA since facing this same Aces side in Dubai in November 2015.

Asked if he requested Mahindra lead assistant coach Chris Gavina to specifically guard Alaska’s energetic forward Calvin Abueva, he gave a hearty laugh.

“Si Abueva? Wala naman, di ko naman siya binutataan,” he said, smiling, before rejoining his entourage as he went to meet PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum’s owner’s lounge.

Pacquiao, who played just his 7th PBA career game, will be back on Friday to play for the Stalwarts team in the Blitz Game, part of the pro league’s four-day All-Star festivities at the Big Dome. – Richard Dy

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