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Pacquiao, Jaworski, others root for Warriors

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA

 

(Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao)

 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY/MANILA — If 2016 is to LeBron James of the NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers, year 2017 could be to Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.   

 

This was the consensus gathered from those who believe the Warriors, with Durant reinforcing the 2016 runners up this time, have what it takes to avenge the setback they suffered a year ago and bring back the much-coveted championship the Cavs deprived them that season.      

    

World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao,  former senator and local basketball's 'living legend' Robert “Sonny” Jaworski Sr., fellow PBA greats Bogs Adornado, Atoy  Co and Philip Cezar and ex-Philippine Youth Team standout Danny Francisco were one in projecting  that Durant could be the key to Warriors’ title win this season.

 

“Other than the fact than the Warriors continue to command the biggest Filipino followers of the NBA in the U.S., the addition of Durant represents yet the biggest boost to their winning this year,” Pacquiao told this writer in an interview during a lull in his training.  

Pacquiao, who was among those Spin.Ph and PhilAmPress interviewed in a survey conducted early this week, is currently in deep training for his coming title fight with Jeff Horn of Australia scheduled on July 2 in Brisbane.     

 

“That is why lalo akong naniniwala  na kayang ibalik ng GSW ang kampeonato ng NBA sa Bay Area. Isang napakalaking tulong ang magagawa ni Durant para sa Warriors. Isa rin siyang dating MVP, so dalawa na sila ni Steph (Curry) na magtutulong) for the Warriors to wi their third championship in three years,” the eight-division titlist reasoned out.   

 

"Of course, idagdag natin ang milyon-milyong Pilipino, both in  the U.S, at maging dito sa Pilipinas na nagdadasal na manalo ang Warriors,” he  added. "Understandable  naman yun na  maraming Pilipino na lokong-loko sa basketbol ang pinasasasaya ang Warriors kapag nanalo sila.”

 

Pacquiao has established a closed friendship with Curry who, at one time or another visited him while training at trainer Freddie Roach-owned Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.

 

Jaworski, former playing-coach of Ginebra San Miguel in the  PBA, agreed, saying,  “Inspite of the Cav's complete and healthy lineup, I pick GSW to win.  The Warriors have shown their commitment to win by the consistent decorum of team members, from the coaches, players and staff in every game."

 

"Other than their key players Curry, (Klay) Thompson, (Draymond) Green and, of course, Durant, expect to see their teammates  (Andre) Igodoula, (Dave) West, Shaun Livingston and others to show the exemplary attitude, desire, team pride, mental toughness and philosophy they've been displaying from the elimination round to the playoffs," Jaworski observed.  

 

Which was exactly what the Warriors just did in the opening game of their best-of-seven championship title series Friday at their home turf Oracle Arena where they routed the Cavs, 119-91, serving notice of what to come next time around.

 

Barring any major injury to the Warriors, Jaworski, the "Big J," or "Jawo" to fans, believe Golden State will settle the issue in six or seven games.

 

To which former Crispa teammates Adornado, Co and Cezar, Francisco, fellow former national  player Jimmy Mariano and Zaldy Realubit,  current PBA mainstays Arwind Santos and Ranidel de Ocampo, Rain Or Shine co-owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que and Team MaHindra assistant coach Chris Gavina concurred in

 

Coach Gavina, for his part, said: “While I feel like Lebron simply played at an unbelievable level last year being on a mission to bringing Cleveland their first championship, I feel that same level of urgency from Kevin Durant this year. I think his  previous past setbacks has ignited his inner fire for greatness.  I say it goes to 7 games with Warriors winning an epic 4-3 series.”

 

Pacquiao’s chief trainer Freddie Roach and other members of Team Pacquiao Spin.Ph interviwed also expressed belief the Warriors will prevail. They included the champ’s younger brother Bobby Pacquiao, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez and Jake Joson.       

 

Incidentally, only five of those interviewed believed James and the Cavaliers will take the measure of the Warriors.

 

And all of them are members of Team Pacquiao – Mahindra assistant team manager Joe Ramos, Senate staff members Choi Garcia, David Sisson, Carlo Gragasin and Johnny Bantilan. (Eddie G. Alinea/Spin.Ph/PhilAmPress)

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