MANILA – Manny Pacquiao is primarily a boxer, not a basketball player, and this worries sports analyst Al Mendoza.
Pacquiao is a fan of the ball game, having played numerous matches as player-team owner of the MP Warriors, one of the teams that played in the defunct regional basketball league, Liga Pilipinas.
“Ang sabi nga ng kaibigan ko, ang delikado d'yan 'pag tunay na naglalaro na si Pacquiao sa PBA. ‘Yan ba talaga ay ika nga e PBA player talaga ‘yan o sabi mo nga kanina ay moro-moro?” Mendoza told Ted Failon during the latter’s DZMM program Failon Ngayon on Monday.
“Diyan nagkakatalo, ‘pag aktwual na pangyayari na mapapanood ng buong bayan si Pacquiao na naglalaro sa PBA, doon na malalaman ang katotohanan. Hindi naman siya basketball player, boksingero siya eh.”
Pacquiao has made a name as an exciting fighter in the boxing ring, toppling superstars like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. He's tried showbiz and is now a politician and a pastor.
Recently, he announced that he was chosen by PBA expansion team KIA Motors to be their playing coach.
Mendoza said the diminutive boxer might be exposing himself to injury as he will have to contend against bigger and taller players in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
“Hindi basta basta ang basketball, nakita mo naman ang mga tulakan dyan... banggaan d’yan. Eh kung bantayan siya ni Baeu Belga ng Rain or Shine, anlaki laki noon, parang refrigerator 'yon,” he said.
Worse, he said, Pacquiao might find himself in physical clashes, which may prompt him to join and use his boxing skills. Fights sometimes happens in emotionally charged basektball games.
“Ang delikado dyan ay siguro naman ay hindi mangyayari dahil kilala naman natin si Manny Pacquiao na maginoo eh baka magkasuntukan sa basketball court,” said Mendoza. “Delikado.”
Fueled by pride, ego?
The sports analyst believes that KIA Motors entered into a deal with Pacquiao to promote their brand via the PBA. But the motivation may be different on Pacquiao’s part, he said.
“Nandyan ‘yung elemento ng pride at ego. Kung ako si Manny Pacquiao, hindi ko na tatanggapin yan eh,” said Mendoza.
“Pero ang tao kasi ay marupok... madaling maengganyo at madaling mahatak ika nga. ‘Yun ang nakikita ko kay Manny Pacquiao. Tinanggap niya ang maging coach maski hindi naman nya teritoryo yan.”