Newly appointed KIA head coach Manny Pacquiao answers questions from the media during a press conference in Makati. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – It looks like Manny Pacquiao will coach and play in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after all.
A month after being appointed head coach of PBA expansion team KIA Motors, the 8-division world boxing champion is preparing to submit his application to join the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft.
Incoming KIA team manager Eric Pineda, who is one of Pacquiao's business managers, said he has Pacquiao’s application documents.
“Hawak ko na yung papeles niya. Magpapa-draft na siya. Sasali na siya sa draft,” Pineda said in the PBA website. “Oras na sabihin na niyang ipapasa ko ito, dadalhin ko na.”
Pineda said the boxer, who is also a politician, a pastor and a showbiz personality, decided to join the draft following his two-week vacation in Israel and Europe.
The boxer’s series of meetings with PBA commissioner Chito Salud also led to Pacquiao’s decision to undergo the draft proceeding.
The 35-year-old Filipino boxing superstar has until August 13 to submit his draft papers. If he files his application, he will become the oldest among the PBA draftees.
If he gets drafted by KIA Motors, he will become the first active professional boxer and active Philippine legislator to play professionally in the PBA.
Pacquiao initially tried to avoid the draft process by pursuing a position as a playing coach for KIA Motors.
But PBA chieftain Chit Salud remained firm that the boxer will have to go through the draft if he wants to play in the PBA.
“He will be a welcome addition to the PBA,” Salud said. “But you will have to enter the rookie draft — you have to go through the process.”