MANILA – The presence of Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao will make basketball fans support KIA Motors in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) when they make their debut next season, says the team's manager.
"Our feedback is that fans of other PBA teams will jump over to KIA because of Manny," said Eric Pineda, an associate of Pacquiao who will likely serve as team manager, in an interview with Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star.
Pacquiao is planning to be KIA's playing-coach, and Pineda believes his presence both on the bench and on the court will thrill the basketball-crazy Filipinos who are used to his exploits inside the boxing ring.
"Don't underestimate Manny as a player," Pineda warned. "He's got game. He's quick and smart."
"Just imagine when he hits a three-pointer; the crowd will go crazy. Basketball is a passion with Manny. His involvement with KIA will be good for the sport, for the PBA, and for the fans," he added.
Columbian Autocar Corp. President Ginia Domingo told Henson that they did join the PBA "for marketing purposes," and believes that adding Pacquiao to their team can only help them achieve that goal.
"Who wouldn't be (excited) with an icon like Manny on your side?" said Domingo.
But she also stressed that Pacquiao will be taking on a "leadership role" in their organization and will be allowed to choose the members of his coaching staff.
"We at KIA are just so happy that with our team, Manny is now close to living his dream of being involved with a professional basketball team as a player and a coach," Domingo added