Manny Pacquiao must truly be blessed.
The eight-time world champion boxer and current congressman in the Philippines never felt the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8. Pacquiao, who lives and trains in General Santos City in Sarangari Province, where he represents that part of the country, was unharmed. The typhoon was north of where Pacquiao was.
“It was sunny and hot,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, who was with Pacquiao when Haiyan hit the country with winds estimated at 190 mph. “We had a little rain that night but no wind.”
Pacquiao is preparing for a Nov. 23 fight against Brandon Rios in Macau. As a congressman, he finds himself involved on a national level in dealing with the catastrophe that left nearly 2,000 dead and more than 580,000 displaced from their homes. And, as the Philippines’ most visible celebrity, there’s a certain amount of responsibility to help in the relief efforts.
“Manny is concerned for his country and his people,” Roach said Wednesday. “He’s had a lot of phone calls, and we talked about it. It’s certainly a distraction because of all the people it has affected.”
Roach said the fight with Rios will go on as scheduled and the typhoon has provided Pacquiao with more incentive.
“He wants to win for his people,” Roach said.
■ TANK JOB — Say what you want about NBA teams allegedly tanking to have a shot at the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft. When it comes to not giving an honest effort, those teams have a long way to go to catch Italian soccer team Nocerina.
The team’s match with Salernitana was called off after 21 minutes Sunday after Nocerina was down to six players, one less than the minimum required to compete. Apparently, the Third Division team had a rash of “injuries,” and some are alleging it was a ploy to get out of town. Reportedly, the team had received death threats from its fans prior to the match, and the game started 40 minutes late after the Nocerina players had to be talked into leaving the team bus and suit up.
The league’s disciplinary commission is investigating the incident. Meanwhile, all the members of the Nocerina board of directors have resigned, while the players have been ordered not to speak to the media. Maybe instead the players should speak to a priest and confess their sins for bringing dishonor to their club, their fans and their sport.
■ WELCOME BACK, LOU — Tuesday was a good news, bad news day for Lou Amundson.
The good news was the former UNLV big man returned to the NBA, signing with the New Orleans Pelicans after being one of the Los Angeles Clippers’ final cuts in the preseason.
The other good news was Amundson played for the Pelicans that night, scoring three points and grabbing three rebounds in just over eight minutes against the Lakers at Staples Center.
The bad news was Lakers guard Wesley Johnson’s dunk on him just before halftime instantly became a YouTube hit.
In Amundson’s defense, he was trying to help after Johnson beat Tyreke Evans off the dribble.
The other bad news for Amundson: He and the Pelicans lost to the Lakers 116-95.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL