MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao said defense will be the foundation of his KIA Motors team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The Filipino boxing superstar seems to have taken cue from other PBA teams like San Mig Coffee and Talk 'N Text as he looked for defense-oriented players during a tryout he organized for KIA Motors on Tuesday.
“Pipiliin ko yung nagpapakita ng tamang depensa, skill nila ang kelangan natin,” said Pacquiao in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
The fighting congressman is still working on his status as KIA Motors playing coach, but remains confident that he will be allowed to coach and play in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) even without going through a rookie draft.
“Nandito na, eh,” he said, while smiling to the media. “Ready na ‘pag nabuo na ang team.”
Pacquiao said he has spotted several players who can be useful in their coming PBA campaign.
Among those who participated in a tryout at the Sta. Lucia Gym in Cainta are his brother, retired boxer Bobby Pacquiao, and his 6’7” nephew Rene Pacquiao.
He added that he has already picked several candidates who will make up his coaching staff. Pacquiao promised to make a formal announcement once the roster is completed.
“Maraming mga assistant coach, saka na namin ia-announce pag kumpleto na. Kasali na rin naming ia-announce ‘pag nabuo na ang team,” said the 8-division world boxing champion.
When asked about reports about him inviting former Ginebra coach Report Jaworski into the team, he said that talks are still ongoing.
Pacquiao said that one thing is for sure about his immediate plan when he enters the league: “Mas magandang mag-champion sa lalong madaling panahon.”
Meanwhile, his team manager Eric Pineda said that they are still having a hard time looking for big men who will man the post.
Pineda said they have seen plenty of guards and forwards who could make it to their 12-man lineup.
“The way we see it, ang problema namin ay the big men, yung magpo-post sa center… who will match up with the likes of Asi Taulava. Doon medyo may problema pa kami,” he said.
Pineda said they will hold another tryout on Wednesday.