MANILA – KIA Motors will be the "best conditioned team" in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), with potential playing-coach Manny Pacquiao overseeing the team's "boot camp"-style workouts himself.
This is according to Pacquiao associate and potential KIA team manager Eric Pineda, who spoke about the team’s plans with Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star.
"He (Pacquiao) wants the team to be the best conditioned in the PBA. Manny expects every player to be in shape, 110 to 120%," Pineda told Henson.
"He wants them to double their stamina. Just like when Manny gets ready for a 12-round bout, he actually trains for a 30-round fight. He wants the team to tire out every opponent, to play at a high pace for 48 straight minutes," he added.
"Manny expects the players to be as disciplined as he is. That means every player will be pushed to the limit, over the norm. He wants a team of no superstars."
The identities of these players are still unknown, however, as KIA has yet to form the team. They hold picks in the upcoming rookie draft on August 24.
"We're not sure of the quality of the rookies we can pick when our turn comes in the draft and in the dispersal draft," Pineda acknowledged. "We don't know how many high-level players will be available."
The team can also sign free agents.
"We plan to invite free agents to a camp on May 26," Pineda said, though the venue of the camp has yet to be decided.
The free agents in the team's radar include Don Allado, J.R. Buensuceso, Ramsey Williams, Mark Andaya, and Joshua Webb, Henson reported.
"We've consulted Alvin Patrimonio, and he told us, 'why not give Marlou Aquino a shot?'" Pineda said.
Pineda said that in their first conference, the team's goal will be to become "the best expansion team," ahead of NLEX and Blackwater.
"If we lose to the top teams, we won't be blown out. We'll never give up," he said. "Our aim is to be a fighting team; that’s how Manny wants it."
"We'll be the underdogs. Manny's used to being the underdog, but look where he is now. He's the country's No. 1 athlete, No. 1 commercial endorser, and the world's only fighter to win eight titles in eight divisions," he added.