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Pacquiao, Kia hold tryouts


Manila, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao and Kia Motors are setting the stage for the grand launch of its new prototype: a basketball team the boxing icon hopes will make heads turn in the PBA.

Pacquiao told the Bulletin yesterday that the initial screening of players hoping to join the new PBA team has already begun and that he will personally preside over the series of scrimmages in the coming days and weeks.

So far, the coaching staff is starting to fill up with the naming of former pro and ex-collegiate coach Glenn Capacio as one of the coaches but the more arduous task would not only be the selection of players but finding those who have what it takes to play in Asia’s premier pay-for-play league.

Pacquiao said some players who had undergone the PBA draft but were never signed will show up during his ‘tryouts’ beginning with a session set last night at The Village, an exclusive sports and recreation center on the outskirts of southern Metro Manila.

Kia Motors is one of three expansion teams that will see action in the PBA in October. The others are NLEX and Blackwater and Pacquiao, who will assume the role of playing coach, said he would like the team to make its presence felt right away.

“I want a competitive team, not a team that will get beaten easily,” said Pacquiao, whose eight world titles in as many weight classes have made him a legend and an all-time great.

Known for his ferocity and never-say-die attitude in the ring, Pacquiao said he would apply his training and fighting philosophy to the team as he aims to form a battery of coaches with specific roles.

“I am getting a coach whose expertise is defense, another coach to train and hone my big men and others who will focus on the other aspects of the game,” said the 35-year-old fighting congressman from Sarangani.

Drawing inspiration from his Spartan work ethic, Pacquiao said a topnotch conditioning coach will also be hired to make sure his team remains in peak condition from the opening buzzer until the final horn.

Pacquiao said PBA fans are in for a treat once Kia Motors begins its much-awaited debut.

“We are preparing something for them and the league will also benefit from what we have in mind,” said Pacquiao, who beat Tim Bradley in their rematch last month and is set to return to the ring in November probably in Macau.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao expressed optimism that Robert Jaworski will agree to act as a special consultant for the squad based on the conversations that he had with the 68-year-old hardcourt hero last month in the US.

“I have raised the subject with him and I am confident he will accept the offer,” said Pacquiao, who will wear jersey No. 17, an obvious reference to his birthdate of Dec. 17.

Pacquiao believes No. 17 and No. 7 would go hand in hand.