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By Rich Mazon

Sat, 02 May 2015

LAS VEGAS -- They follow him like a deity and pursue him like a demigod. They have tattooed comets in their left forearms which is a requirement to belong to their fraternity, and chase him wherever he goes.

They wear jackets, shirts and hats with his name on it. Their cars have the inscriptions of his initials in their bumpers. They surround him like the Secret Service protects the President.

They are privileged to have access to his houses, his suites in Las Vegas and Macau. They are billeted for free in hotel rooms during his twin fights every year ? all paid for. And they sit at ringside for free and in an event where tickets cost an average of $5000, they will pay nothing.

They are ?Team Pacquiao? or that is what they call themselves.

The privileged few, who over the years, have increased in numbers, owing to Manny Pacquiao?s ever-growing popularity, are blessed by the generosity of the superstar boxer.

Or is the real ?Team Pacquiao? another group of individuals who despite the freebies that they enjoy from Pacquiao, have the money, name and stature that separate them from the ones mentioned above?

They are politicians, movie stars, religious leaders and media moguls who have made a name in their own field but they turn into fan boys and fan girls of the sporting icon from their country.

They are envied because of the privileges they enjoy, but are they the real ?Team Pacquiao??


The real ?Team Pacquiao? is a nation of one hundred million people whose lives stop to watch Pacquiao do battle against another in a prizefight.

They are his countrymen who are either living in one of the country?s seven thousand islands and those who have found another country to call their second home. They all take pride of his accomplishments as an athlete, as a person, as a Filipino. They don?t follow him in his Los Angeles mansion like the group above but they are aware of his activities inside and outside of the ring from the extensive media exposure that Pacquiao enjoys.

?Pinoy Pride? came about because of Manny Pacquiao.

Not only is Pacquiao their sporting idol, he is also a role-model for many, who are inspired by his accomplishments that is the fruit of blood, sweat and tears.

The ordinary ?Pinoy? who is trying hard to make a living in a corruption-filled country has found an inspiration in a former street vendor who is now rubbing elbows with princes and world leaders.

The the ordinary Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who ventured away from his homeland and his family has found an exemplar of what one can achieve with hard work and faith.

The young upcoming athletes of his country, who dream that one day, they will make it to the top of their sport, have found a paragon to guide their path.

They are the real ?Team Pacquiao.?

They fervidly celebrate with his victories, passionately cried when he is defeated and supported him in his many endeavors, including his many undertakings in politics, show business, business and even professional basketball.

All without asking any freebies from him, only a promise of a good fight whenever he steps in the ring.

Who is the real Team Pacquiao? They are not the former governor, the ?Pambansang Anino?, the flag hoisting politician nor the other camera-hugging characters behind him in his fights.

Pilipinas ? You are ?Team Pacquiao?.

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