Boxing icon and Philippine Senator Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao and his family have come to Vancouver for a well-deserved vacation.
Pacquiao and his loved ones were billeted at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver.
On Tuesday (January 7), Pacquiao had dinner with Philippine Consul General to Vancouver, Maria Andrelita S. Austria, and her staff; personal friend and Vancouver lawyer Giovanni Mata; and former Olympic boxer and now Vancouver publisher Rey Fortaleza of the ReyFort Media Group.
Pacquiao is the current WBA super welterweight champion, and on his first term as Philippine senator.
Pacquiao and family travelled to Vancouver from the province of Alberta, where Pacquiao had a basketball exhition.
The 41-year-old is the founder and CEO of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
He brought in a trio of MPBL teams to Alberta to take part in the 2019 MPBL All-Star Weekend.
Pacquiao played basketball with his squad called Team Pacquiao at the Edmonton Expo Centre on December 28, 2019.
This is the first basketball trip to Canada for Pacquiao. The group of MPBL all-stars played a series of games in Calgary before making the trek up to Edmonton.
In 2014, Pacquiao started his basketball career in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). He was drafted by Kia Sorento in the first round (14th overall).
He played sparingly over four seasons before retiring from the league in 2018.
Pacquiao also delved into coaching basketball at the professional level in the Philippines.
He founded the MPBL in hopes of continuing to grow the sport of basketball in the Philippines.
“Our vision of the MPBL is to continue to inspire people and give them a chance to play in the Filipino League and get them a chance to play outside of the country,” said Pacquiao. “This MPBL League is trying to encourage kids to play basketball and focus on sport.”
Pacquiao holds a career boxing record of 62-7-2 (39 KOs), and has used the sport of basketball to cross-train for boxing fights.
“There are a lot of Filipinos here and they invited me and my MPBL League and we’re able to play some friendly games of basketball,” said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao arrived in Calgary on the evening of December 26.
Pacquiao is one of the most successful boxers of all time.
He turned 40 on December 2018, making him eligible to run for President of the Philippines in 2022.
One has to be 40 to be president of the Philippines. Some polls project Pacquiao as the winner.
Pacquiao won a seat in the Senate in May 2016. He had previously served in the Philippines’ House of Representatives.
The Filipino slugger garnered more than 16 million votes, landing seventh among 12 new members of the Senate, a traditional springboard to the presidency.
Judging by his popularity in his country, the presidency could be well within his reach.
Pacquiao has been encouraged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to take up the reins in 2022
Duterte has announced in the past that he intends to make Pacquiao his successor.
Duterte said during Pacquiao’s 39th birthday bash in 2017 that the Filipino icon would make an ideal president.
“I told him when we were alone, I want him to become president,” Duterte said in 2017.
“You have brought so much pride and joy to our country for being the world champion in the field of boxing,” Duterte said.
The eight-division world champion has hinted in the past that he might run for president.
However, Pacquiao has made it clear in the past that he wanted to be “an inspiration to everyone”.