MANILA, Philippines – Columbian Autocar Corp., the owner of expansion team KIA Motors, took a gamble in allowing Manny Pacquiao to join the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft that is set to take place next month.
This means that the 11 other PBA teams could select the boxer in the draft. If this happens, KIA Motors might lose Pacquiao, who was tapped to be the team’s playing coach.
“I hope the other teams understand that Manny is already the coach of KIA, and hopefully, they would not pick him,” KIA Motors team manager Eric Pineda said in the league’s official website.
KIA’s Joe Ramos forwarded Pacquiao’s draft application to PBA Operations chief Rickie Santos shortly after the PBA dispersal draft on Friday.
The boxer will only have to submit his birth certificate to complete the papers and count him among the rookie hopefuls who will join the draft on August 24.
Pacquiao will be the oldest among the rookies at the age of 35 and most likely, he will also be the smallest at 5’6 ½”.
“His documents are already in the PBA office,” said Pineda.
But in a previous interview with Ted Failon on dzMM, sports analyst Al Mendoza said that KIA can maintain hold of Pacquiao if they are able to reach out to the other PBA teams.
“Mga gentlemen naman ang mga team owner, pwede silang magkaroon ng agreement na ‘wag nang kunin si Pacquiao sa draft.”
PBA commissioner Chito Salud, for his part, said that Pacquiao’s decision to join the draft is a welcome development.
“We welcome the involvement of Cong. Manny Pacquiao with KIA as a coach when it was first announced, and again, we welcome the draft application of Cong. Manny Pacquiao for the 2014 Rookie Draft,” Salud said.
“He has previously committed that he will go through the normal regular procedure to play in the PBA, that he will observe all the rules ought to apply to rookies. We wish him luck.”