As the 10th-ranked Italian squad ventures to the second round of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Head Coach Gianmarco Pozzecco ticks off a bucket list occurrence by meeting Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao’s Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) shared glimpses of the highly requested encounter, as the two shared a friendly match on a custom chessboard and a photo with several Italian cagers. The former Olimpia Milano Assistant Coach also gifted him a customized Italy Spalding Jersey featuring PacMan’s surname on the rear.
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With Italy’s arrival in Manila, Pozzecco made it known to meet his boxing idol during their residency. Following their 90-83 victory against the Philippines, he humorously took to the press conference booth his cries for help in possibly meeting the former eight-division boxing world champion. When asking the press about his whereabouts, the media jokingly responded that traffic hindered the appearance of the fighting pride of the Philippines.
The genies granted Pozzecco’s wish the following day.