MANILA, Philippines – The chairman of Columbian Autocar Corp. believes that Manny Pacquiao's stint as head coach of Team KIA in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) may be a boost to the Filipino boxer's political career.
Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion and also the Sarangani Representative to the Philippine Congress, was officially named the head coach of the KIA expansion team on Monday.
Jose Chavez Alvarez, Columbian Autocar Corp. chairman and also the governor of Palawan, hinted that the exposure Pacquiao will get as head coach will go a long way in helping his political career.
"Pag nagko-coaching siya doon sa floor ay naka-focus sa kanya ‘yung telebisyon. Alam mo na kung ano ang susunod doon – buong bansa ay nakatingin sa'yo," Alvarez said in the press conference.
"Baka hindi lang siya maging Congressman," he added.
When asked if they were helping Pacquiao’s political career, Alvarez was coy in his answer.
"Well, kung ako 'yun, naiisip ko na sa telebisyon natin ay 60 million viewers kaagad 'yan, eh ilan lang ang boboto," said Alvarez. "Ayun ay tingin ko lang 'yun."
"Pero hindi ko sinasabi na 'yun ang ambisyon niya," Alvarez added immediately. "Kasi noong nakilala ko siya, talagang naglalaro na ito ng basketball. Maski hindi pa ito mag-boxing ay nagba-basketball na ito."
Alvarez also warned that Pacquiao should not be underestimated as a player even as the "Pacman" put on hold his plans to be a player-coach in favor of focusing on his duties as a head coach.
"Wag niyo i-underestimate 'yan dahil may three-pointer 'yan," said Alvarez.
Pacquiao did not comment on Alvarez’s assertion, stressing that his focus is on building a team that will perform well when they make their debut in the upcoming season.
"Ang lagi kong iniisip 'yun mga fans siyempre, at unang iniisip ko ay 'yung kapakanan, 'yung magiging performance ng Team KIA. Ayoko naman mapahiya sa mga big boss," Pacquiao said.