Francois Wise had a ton of good and bad memories when he retired from the Los Angeles police force in February after 33 years of service.
One of the good ones was meeting Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
The former PBA import said on an episode of An Eternity of Basketball that he crossed paths with Pacquiao on an ordinary day in the office 12 years ago. Wise was just leaving the station after his shift when he heard someone speak in Filipino, a language he is very familiar with from his playing days as an import in the PBA.
Instinctively, he looked up. It was Pacquiao, who was then preparing for a March 15, 2008 rematch bout against archrival Juan Manuel Marquez. But it didn't dawn on him at first, so he confirmed it from the man himself.
"There was about four of them. Then I heard him talk Tagalog so I looked over and I couldn't think of his name," the 62-year-old Wise said. "I asked him, 'Aren't you... Pacman, right?' He said yes. So I got up and introduced myself."
Pacquiao was at the police station to report a robbery after over $89,000 was stolen from his Wells Fargo and Sunset Boulevard bank accounts. The 6-5 Wise, dubbed as the "Magnificent Hulk," told Pacquiao he played in the PBA. But to his surprise, Pacquiao, a big basketball fan, knew him.
"Manny said, 'I remember you,'" Wise recalled.
Wise was a well-loved import in the 80s in PBA. He played for U-Tex, Tanduay, Manila Beer, and Hills Bros, averaging 36.7 points (scored 74 points for Tanduay in 1983), 15.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 118 games. Wise also had a cameo appearance on teammate Joey Marquez's comedy show Palibhasa Lalake.
But on that day in 2008, Pacquiao was the celebrity. And like most admirers, Wise naturally asked for a picture and an autograph.