By NICK GIONGCO
“As long as it doesn’t interfere with his boxing, it will be okay for him to play basketball,” said Arum, the 82-year-old Hall of Fame promoter when asked about Pacquiao’s impending foray into the Philippine Basketball Association as a playing coach for new team Kia Motors.
Arum believes Pacquiao’s involvement in basketball won’t be as deep as his commitment to boxing, the sport that has made the Filipino an icon in the eyes of sports fans from around the world.
While Pacquiao, 35, is raring to suit up and dribble his way to the basket, Arum thinks the fighting congressman’s stint is more of a show to enhance the growing popularity of the Korean car brand in the Philippines.
Columbia Auto Corp., the distributor of Kia vehicles in the country, has given Pacquiao the free hand to form a team in time for the opening of the All-Filipino Cup in the third week of October.
Kia Motors is actually a major sponsor of the NBA and it is no surprise that it is dipping its fingers into the PBA, Asia’s first professional league.
To beef up his think tank, Pacquiao has acquired the services of former pro and Globalport head coach Glenn Capacio and there will be more specialists who will be hired in the coming weeks.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, will return to the ring on Nov. 8, according to Arum and that Macau, which hosted Pacquiao’s easy win over Brandon Rios last year at the CotaiArena, has expressed its desire to stage another headliner.
Arum has a scheduled meeting with the casino bigwigs of The Venetian, which houses the CotaiArena, tomorrow.
Arum is scheduled to arrive in Macau today after spending the night in Hong Kong.
“The opponent of Manny we’ll know by next month,” added Arum, who has extended Pacquiao’s promotional contract until the end of 2016.
Obviously, Arum believes basketball won’t affect Pacquiao’s boxing obligations.