Manny Pacquiao while being introduced as KIA Motors' head coach. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star Ramon Fernandez sees nothing wrong with Manny Pacquiao trying his hand at coaching in Asia’s first play-for-pay hoops league.
He said that instead of criticizing Pacquiao for being appointed as coach for expansion team KIA Motors, the fighting congressman should be given the chance to prove his worth.
“Let’s judge Cong. Manny after several conferences,” Fernandez, considered as one of the best ever to play on the Philippine hardcourt, said in an interview with Spin.ph’s Richard Dy.
The four-time PBA Most Valuable Player cited former Toyota coach Dante Silverio and current San Mig Coffee mentor Tim Cone as perfect examples of individuals who lacked coaching experience but made it big in the PBA.
“Our coach then Dante, never had an experience as a basketball player, but he was a student of the game,” said Fernandez, who has won 19 PBA championships for Toyota, Purefoods and San Miguel Beer.
Silverio was a champion race car driver before he got involved in basketball when he assembled the Komatsu Komets/Toyota Comets for the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) in 1973. He later brought the franchise to the PBA in 1975 and became the team coach.
He led Toyota to five PBA championships and six runner-up finishes.
“[The] second [example] that I can see is Tim Cone. I didn’t know of any experience that Tim had sa college basketball, but he was trusted by [Alaska owner] Fred Uytengsu,” said Fernandez.
“Look, he’s the [PBA's] winningest coach now,” he added, citing Cone’s 17 title wins in the league.
Pacquiao was recently appointed by KIA Motors as their head coach for the 2015 PBA Season, a move that drew mixed reactions from local sports fans.
While some welcomed the boxer's entry to the PBA, others believe that he still lacks experience when it comes to leading a basketball team in the pro league.