|Manny Pacquiao allays fears regarding his PBA plans. Photo by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao assured fight fans that he will try to avoid injuries in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) while serving as playing-coach for expansion team KIA Motors.
Even as the team management is working out the PBA Rookie Draft issue that could hamper his entry to the league, Pacquiao appeared sure about his chances of playing in Asia's first pay-for-play league.
Although basketball is close to his heart, he said he’ll make sure that he won’t risk his stellar boxing career by avoiding injuries in the hard court.
"No, I’ll make sure na hindi ako ma-injure ng grabe para mahinto sa boksing," Pacquiao said in an interview with veteran boxing scribe Eddie Alinea.
"I want to play basketball because, outside of boxing, that’s the sport closest to my heart, too. But not to the extent of risking my bread and butter which is boxing," he added in Alinea’s report to Philboxing.
Pacquiao said he is appreciative of fight fans’ concern regarding his safety in basketball. Some of them believe that the boxer might be exposing himself to injury as he will have to contend against bigger and taller players.
According to sports blogger Jude Roque, who also serves as the San Beda Red Lions team manager, said injuries are almost unavoidable in basketball.
"Basketball is an injury-prone sport, maybe even more than boxing. And most of the injuries sustained here are accidental," Roque said in his Yahoo! Blog Sharp Shooter.
"In boxing, any fighter that is being seriously hurt can be saved by a stoppage, either by the referee or by his own corner. But in basketball, players often don’t see these injuries coming. Should the Pambansang Kamao risk his incomparable boxing career to a basketball injury?," added Roque.
But Pacquiao reasoned out that he will spend more time coaching the team, instead of playing. This way, he’ll allot more playing time to his wards and avoid injury especially in important games.
"I thank those who expressed concern over my decision to play professional basketball. I understand the game. I will focus more on coaching rather than playing especially during crucial games," said the eight-division champion.
Pacquiao said he is joining the league not for himself, but for the people watching the games. He said he’d like to entertain fans just like what he does whenever he steps inside the ring.
"Hindi ko na kailangan pang sumikat gaya ng sabi ng marami. Gusto ko lang talaga makapagdulot ng kaligayahan sa maraming tao," said the boxer.
"Nagagawa ko na yan sa boksing, gagawin ko rin sa basketball, the sport that is supposed to be the nation’s favorite pastime."