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Longest wait New round of ECQ puts sports at standstill

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MANNY PACQUIAO/IG WITH the pandemic at its peak, boxing champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao seeks comfort in the loving arms of his wife, Jinkee, while playing the game he truly loves.

Darkness gripped Philippine sports after the government placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting 29 March.

The Philippine Basketball Association was supposed to open its 46th season on 18 April, but had to cancel after teams were barred from conducting group trainings and workouts.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MAXINE ESTEBAN/FB
FOR fencing sweetheart Maxine Esteban, the pandemic is a perfect time to reunite with her first love — music.

The same goes for the Premier Volleyball League as its teams are all pumped up to see action in the country’s first professional women’s volleyball tourney.

Of course, other leagues like the Philippine Golf Tour, Philippine Football League, Women’s National Basketball League and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League were affected as well, wreaking havoc on what used to be a vibrant and dynamic local sports landscape.

But amid darkness comes a ray of hope.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MISAGH BAHADORAN/IG
IT’S a goal for football hero Misagh Bahadoran as he turns the pandemic into a golden chance to put a ring on his girlfriend, Riza Siccion.

Instead of wallowing in sadness for what could be the longest wait of their lives, athletes are trying to find joy in doing things they love.

If they spent most of their time competing and training during the pre-pandemic days, now, these athletes are having a lot of time tending to their hobbies with their loved ones.

Eight-time world champion Manny Pacquiao, for instance, is spending the quarantine playing basketball with his lovely wife, Jinkee, in their residence in General Santos City while volleyball sweetheart Mika Reyes conquered her fear of water by surfing in La Union with her friends.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MIKA REYES/FB
NOT even a pandemic could stop volleyball sensation Mika Reyes from conquering her fear of water.

Keeping themselves in shape also appears to be the latest craze of Barangay Ginebra stars Aljon Mariano and Scottie Thompson while volleybelle Gretchel Soltones stays fit by biking around the metro.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ALJON MARIANO/IG
GINEBRA swingman Aljon Mariano breaks a sweat in preparation for a busy PBA season.

On the same note, the new round of lockdown also prompted fencer Maxine Esteban to rekindle her love affair with music, while Aby Maraño also revives an old hobby by playing basketball and Agatha Wong spends her downtime cleaning her car.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY
OF SCOTTIE THOMPSON/IG
THERE’S no stopping Scottie Thompson from getting himself ready for the looming PBA wars.

True enough, this new round of lockdown had grounded even the country’s biggest sports stars.

But amid the darkness that it brings, there’s still a ray of hope as they get a lot of time to breathe, recharge and take things slow before marching to yet another furious battle.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GRETCHEL SOLTONES/FB
GRETCHEL Soltones spends the quarantine period in the fast lane as she gets to bike around the metro.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AGATHA WONG/FB
WUSHU star Agatha Wong makes good use of her extra time by cleaning her car.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY
OF ABY MARAño/IG
THE new round of lockdown gives Aby Maraño a chance to trade volleyball for basketball.

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