Saturday, June 28, 2008


By Ronnie Nathanielsz

A 17 year old fresh high school graduate has been chosen to sing the Philippine national anthem at the “Lethal Combination” showdown between Filipino ring idol Manny Pacquiao and WBC lightweight champion David Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 28.

Nicole Angela Judalena told Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today that Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda discovered her through his son who is a friend and after she sent her CD to Pineda “he told me to audition for Manny” who himself has made some hit records.

Judalena said she went to the set of Pinoy Records at GMA and “there I sang to Manny and auditioned.”

When she was chosen to sing the national anthem, the young girl said “at first it was hard for me to absorb it. I couldn’t actually believe I got it with so many talented singers here. Its such an honor to be there (Las Vegas) and give glory to our country just by singing.”

Judalena conceded that she expects “to be nervous” but stressed that “as always I fight that nervousness and just go for it and I believe in God, that He will always help me wherever He will take me.”

She said she was amazed at how nice Pacquiao was considering he is a national hero. “He is so friendly and so smart” as she made reference to how Pacquiao beat his former business manager Rod Nazario in a game of chess she witnessed at the Century Park Hotel prior to Pacquiao’s departure for Los Angeles. In addition Judalena said “Manny is actually funny and very grounded."