Ryan Songalia

Manny Pacquiao named head basketball coach in Philippines

(L-R) KIA chairman Jose Chavez Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and PBA commissioner Chito Salud at a press conference to announce Pacquiao's new position as head coach of a pro basketball team. Photo by Jane Bracher.

(L-R) KIA chairman Jose Chavez Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and PBA commissioner Chito Salud at a press conference to announce Pacquiao’s new position as head basketball coach. Photo by Jane Bracher

 

Call him Coach Pacquiao.

WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao was formally announced as the coach of the Philippine Basketball Association’s new expansion team, owned by the KIA Corporation, at a press conference in Manila.

For the 35-year-old Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts), of General Santos City, Philippines, the new gig adds one more commitment to an already stretched-thin schedule which includes being a congressman in the Philippine province of Sarangani while also training for major boxing fights.

Pacquiao, who has no notable coaching experience save for the local leagues he frequents around the country, says that basketball, not boxing, was his first love, while assuring that he can manage all of his projects.

“It's all about time management. Self-discipline. We can handle it,” Pacquiao told Philippine-based news outlet Rappler.com.

The KIA team is one of three franchises that will join the 40-year-old league when next season begins on October 19. The beginning of the season will intersect with training for Pacquiao’s next fight, on November 22 in Macau against an opponent to be named. 

Pacquiao says he isn’t ruling out the possibility of becoming a player-coach, though league commissioner Chito Salud said he could not walk on as a direct hire and would have to submit to the draft. Pacquiao would become the oldest rookie in league history.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum was none too pleased with his star attraction’s latest endeavor, remarking that Pacquiao is far better as a boxer than a basketball player. "I don’t think that’s serious,” Arum said while in Macau for the Nonito Donaire Jr.-Simpiwe Vetyeka fight earlier this month. “He’s a good club player but that’s about it.”

When asked whether his experience conditioning for the sweet science would come in handy, Pacquiao remarked. “I could use my experience as a boxer, especially in training. The players need to get ready.” 


 

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