Boxing first before basketball for KIA playing coach
MANILA – With his draft application papers now at the PBA office, Manny Pacquiao’s pro basketball days are now certain.
But since the 40th PBA Season will begin in October, a month before Pacquiao’s scheduled November 22 title defense against undefeated American Chris Algieri, playing ball will have to take a back seat for now.
KIA Motors team manager Eric Pineda, also one of Pacquiao’s business managers, said the fighting congressman won’t be playing in the team’s first few PBA matches.
“Manny will be training for his boxing match, and a month before the fight, he’ll just be doing his job as coach,” said Pineda in PBA’s official website after announcing that the eight-division champion had already submitted his draft application.
“His [basketball] play is the one he has to forego at the time. Important yung boxing match kasi laban ng bansa yun eh.”
Pineda said the Filipino boxer can't risk getting injured ahead of his WBO welterweight title defense, especially since the Filipino will be facing an unorthodox fighter in Algieri.
“He understood already the conditions, and he’s not taking any risks of getting injured,” said Pineda.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, meanwhile, welcomed the boxer’s decision to go through the draft.
Pacquiao initially wanted to evade the draft by taking the role of player-coach for KIA Motors.
“We welcome the involvement of Congressman Manny Pacquiao with Team KIA as a coach and we welcome his draft application,” Salud said. “As he previously committed, he will go through the normal, regular procedure.”