A boxing icon arrived in Calgary on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 26 to a rock star’s welcome.
Fans eagerly greeted Manny Pacquiao at the Calgary International Airport and at his hotel.
The boxing legend — known as Pac-man — was not in Calgary to put on a pair of boxing gloves, but rather to lace up his basketball shoes.
Pacquiao is in town to participate in an exhibition game Friday evening to promote the Maharlika Philipinas Basketball League, of which he is the CEO and founder.
“We have a lot of Filipino here. They were interested in bringing the MPBL here,” Pacquiao said.
“Not only the Filipino but the people who love basketball, they’re really excited for the game.”
“Pacquiao is our hero. He brought the Philippine map in the world. So, if I may say, he is our pride,” said Pacquiao event sponsor Fralei Moussa.
The game was taking place at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex at Tsuut’ina First Nation Friday evening.
Pacquiao also plays and coaches a team in the league.
He is expected to play in a similar game at Edmonton’s Expo Centre on Saturday.
Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in boxing history.