Naging kapansin-pansin ang pagbabago ni Martin Nievera sa areglo sa pambansang awit sa nakaraang laban ni Manny Pacquiao kay Ricky Hatton noong ika-2 ng Mayo (May 3 sa Pilipinas). Kapansin-pansin din ang suot-suot niyang t-shirt na 3 stars and a sun mula sa mga disenyo ng T-shirts ng namayapa nang si Francis Magalona.
Subalit, hindi lahat ng tao ay nagustuhan ang bagong areglo na ginawa ni Martin sa "Lupang Hinirang." (Click HERE to read related article.)
Saksi ang Showbiz Central nang mamili si Martin ng t-shirt na susuotin niya sa laban. Ayon kay Martin nang makausap ng Showbiz Central nang mamili ito ng T-shirt, "My idea was to go to his closet and use one of his shirts, not just one of his designs. But this will do. I hope, this will bring more pride to our country."
At kung ang ibang singers nga na kumanta ng Pambansang Awit sa mga nakaraang laban ni Pacquiao ay naka-terno, mas pinili nga ni Martin na isuot ang isa sa Francis M shirts under his blazer.
Masaya at nagpapasalamat naman si Pia Magalona sa naging gesture ni Martin na isuot nga ang isa sa mga design ni Francis dahil in such a way, para na rin nandoon ang spirit ng asawa, especially sa isang event na nagkakaisa ang mga Filipino.
Para kay Martin naman, "Thank you so much for trusting me for the Francis line of clothing and it will bring pride to our country and to the song that I will sing which I sing for the people."
Nagpahayag din naman si Martin sa rumor na pinagpilian silang dalawa ni Lea Salonga para kumanta sa laban.
"The rumors came out that it's going to be Lea Salonga. So, I had to confirm it with Manny. If you want Lea, please, give it to Lea because she's great. He called me at my house and he said, 'I gave you my word and I'm gonna keep it.'"
"So, Lea can sing on the next fight, according to Manny. And there's no bad blood between Lea and I."
Straight from the U.S.A ay nakausap via phone si Martin pagkatapos na manalo ni Manny over Ricky after two rounds.
"Ang nasa isip ko lang, just don't forget the lyrics and sing it from the heart because ang dami ngang Pinoy that are depending on me. Just do a good job. Ang dami ngang nagsasabi sa akin doon na mag-ingat ka kasi, malakas ang sigaw ng mga British.
"I felt so scared but again, I was just focusing. I've never rehearsed so much. I've never studied so much right before singing it. Nasa gitna ako ng boxing ring and I felt, I spent more time in the ring than Manny Pacquio did," natatawa niyang biro.
"But no, again, when I thought of wearing Francis M's shirt, it's my way of paying tribute to Francis and what he has done for our country...for our music industry. How much he loves the Philippines and I feel, Francis helps me feel the song even better. And I'm so grateful and I'm so honored to sing the song for Manny. I feel humbled because you stuck with me. You didn't think of any superstition.
"Thank you so much for sticking with me and not believing in superstition."
Martin Nievera felt humbled while singing the national anthem
by Rose Garcia posted on May 5, 2009