by Nick Giongco
Manila, Philippines – Players aspiring to join Manny Pacquiao’s Kia Motors, one of three teams that will make their debut in the PBA in October, better be ready to endure a lot of pain and punishment.
Pacquiao plans to assume the role not only of a playing coach but also of a drillmaster as the boxing icon intends to send home those he’d find to be treating his tryouts and his practice games like they were pickup games.
“Those who can’t keep up with my training methods will have to go,” said Pacquiao late Friday night in his lavish Forbes Park home after playing a few games in Las Pinas.
Of course, Pacquiao won’t be forcing hopefuls and even those who will be selected to play to perform the routine he does while training for a big fight.
“But I expect them to always be in shape,” said Pacquiao, the current World Boxing Organization welterweight king.
Pacquiao is so enamored in making his team competitive from the first quarter until extra period that he will mandate them to do morning roadworks as though they are revving up for a fight.
“I will be running with them in the morning,” said the 35-year-old Pacquiao.
Incoming team manager Eric Pineda said training camp “will be something like a boot camp.”
Pineda said they all know that the team that they will eventually come up with won’t immediately make it to the top but they’d do everything possible to make it competitive.
“We don’t want our team to get blown away and losing by 20 or 30 points every game,” added Pineda.
Pacquiao said Friday’s initial tryout had a fine turnout but he expects more to come when the team begins a more thorough recruitment process starting May 26.
The PBA Philippine Cup (All-Filipino) won’t start until the third week of October but Pacquiao wants to put his buildup in motion right away.
The acquisition of coaches and consultants has started and the team is beginning to take shape although the final lineup won’t be completed until all teams take part in the PBA Draft in late-August.
Still, Pacquiao is beaming with excitement as he looks forward to donning the Kia jersey and giving the PBA fans a treat.
“The PBA fans are going to see something different when we play and the league is going to greatly benefit from what we have in mind,” said Pacquiao.