MANILA – Filipino boxer and now KIA Motors playing coach Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao wants to hire former NBA player Ron Artest – now known as Metta World Peace – as his team's import in the PBA.
Pacquiao, who was taken by KIA with the 11th pick in the recent PBA Draft, told Abac Cordero of the Philippine Star while in China that he is thinking of tabbing World Peace as their reinforcement for future conferences.
"Okay 'yun, kaibigan ko 'yun," Pacquiao said of World Peace, who is a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
World Peace also won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010 but is now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. The burly 6-foot-7 forward has a reputation for eccentricity as well, and is reportedly changing his name a second time - this time to "The Panda's Friend."
"Kailangan namin ng magaling na import," Pacquiao also said, adding that he knows that World Peace now plays in China.
"Pag nakuha namin 'yun, maganda 'yun. NBA player 'yun. Kilala ko 'yun," he added.
Before even thinking about hiring World Peace, however, Pacquiao has to first deal with the All-Filipino Conference as the new PBA season begins on October 19.
Aside from Pacquiao, the KIA Sorentos' roster also features Rene Pacquiao – the boxer's cousin – as well as players like Reil Cervantes, Paul Sanga, Jai Reyes, Hans Thiele, Alvin Padilla, LA Revilla, and Joshua Webb.
Pacquiao is currently in the midst of a media tour to promote his November 23 welterweight title defense against American boxer Chris Algieri.