ALTHOUGH Z “The Dream” Gorres never became a world champion in his entire career as a professional boxer, he felt like one yesterday.

As soon as Gorres, who was transported in a wheelchair, emerged at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport arrival area, he was greeted by his four children—Dheybert, 8, Shyla Dhey, 5, Zhey, 3, and Khodey, eight months—including other family members and ALA Gym founder Antonio L. Aldeguer and his family.

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Tears trickled down the eyes of the 27-year-old ALA boy, who was wearing a cap and a pair of sunglasses, upon feeling once again the touch of his children, who he missed so dearly after being separated from them for three months.

However, it wasn’t just the Aldeguers and the Gorreses who were anticipating the arrival of the boxing hero.

Gorres’ fellow ALA Gym boxers and his neighbors in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, Mandaue City were eagerly waiting outside the arrival area bringing banners with pictures of the fallen fighter.

As Gorres emerged at the arrival area, the huge crowd cheered, shouting Gorres’ name as if he was inside the ring in a boxing match.

“I’m so happy. I didn’t expect this many people would be there.

I’m really thankful for the support of everybody including my family and especially ALA,” said Gorres, who was accompanied in the plane by his wife Datches, Dr. Benito Calderon and wife Sophia, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer and vice president Dennis Cañete.

After an emotional reunion with his stable-mates, Gorres was in a motorcade from the airport to Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, where he was honored with a hero’s welcome for his outstanding performance inside the ring, by Mayor Jonas Cortes and Barangay Captain Carmelino del Mar Jr.

Gorres suffered from a life-threatening head injury after being tagged by a devastating right punch by Luis Melendez in their Nov. 13, 2009 fight at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues in Las Vegas.

Gorres was rushed to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas after he collapsed. He was pronounced the winner of the 10-round bout.

He immediately underwent an emergency brain surgery to alleviate the swelling in his brain and spent more than two months in the hospital. He was discharged last month and started physical rehabilitation on his left arm and leg, which were weakened due to the injury on his brain.

“We are here to deliver Z Gorres alive,” said Dr. Calderon in the press luncheon at the Patio Isabel. “In the first few weeks in the hospital, he was so critical that we thought he would not be able to make it but here he is right now.”

Calderon said Gorres will most likely be able to walk normally within six months because has shown astonishing improvement.

“This guy’s a miracle kid. When he was released from the hospital last Jan. 15, he was being carried because he couldn’t walk. Last Friday, he can already walk using a walker.

He has improved a lot. He will continue to improve more, now that he is with his family,” said the doctor, who adopted Gorres and his wife into his home in Las Vegas.

Gorres, who racked up a record of 31-2-1, has a huge probability of regaining his normal motor skills but he can never return to the ring.

“He (Gorres) was with us when he was nine. He is like a brother to me. We have lots of plans for him. We will sit down and listen to what he wants to do,” said Aldeguer.

Michael said that Gorres can work as a trainer in the ALA Gym, become part of the promotional outfit or even in the different businesses of the Aldeguers.

However, Gorres’ plans are clear.

Because even if he can never box again, he still wants to be close to the sport that he loves and work as a trainer to help other boxers reach their dreams and become world champions. (EKA)