MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Sadness anddisappointment gripped Filipinos after Manny Pacquiao's defeat in hismuch-anticipated fight against American Floyd Mayweather Jr. but they stillconsidered the boxing icon a national hero.
Gymnasiums and other public venues wherethe 12-round fight was shown for free on Sunday lunchtime local time werequickly vacated after it was announced Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision.
Herminio Coloma, a spokesman for PresidentBenigno Aquino III, said ''the country still holds its head high in theadmirable fight of our National Fist.''
He said Aquino thanked Pacquiao, who isalso a congressman, for being ''an inspiration to every Filipino who isstruggling with life's challenges to achieve a bright future.''
Some fans said Pacquiao should retire fromboxing while others demanded a rematch. For thousands at a plaza in Marikinacity, part of metropolitan Manila, the party mood was dampened not just by hisloss but also a sudden downpour.
Roland Purificacion, a 45-year-old pedicabdriver who watched the fight on a huge television screen outside the QuiapoChurch in central Manila, was disappointed but spoke for many of hiscompatriots when he said Pacquiao ''is still the people's champ. He is stillour hero.''
Security guard Melchor Yaba, 48, said helost 5,000 pesos ($113), a half month's salary, betting on Pacquiao.
''I can't accept that he lost. I now regretit,'' he said, referring to his bet. ''He cannot retire yet. Let's have arematch.''