by Nick Giongco
About two weeks ago at the gigantic Sta. Lucia Grand Mall in Cainta, the expression on Manny Pacquiao’s face when he attended a tryout conducted by PBA expansion team Kia Motors was that of somebody about to be led to the gallows.
After attending a few scrimmages and letting go of those who didn’t make the grade, the atmosphere during one of Kia Motors’ scrimmages and workouts now exudes thrill and excitement.
As the coaches began to rotate players and watch the pick-up games involving about five teams of five players, Pacquiao’s face has glowed like a teener who has been handed over the keys of a brand-new car.
“The players and the coaches are now getting the feel of each other,” said Pacquiao during a workout Friday at the San Andres Gym in Malate, Manila.
True enough, unlike the first two days of tryouts, where most of the players huffed and puffed after only a few fast-break plays, their recent meet-up resembled that of a training session of a very organized ballclub featuring set-plays and advanced strength and conditioning sessions.
“I have been constantly talking with my coaching staff and we’re exchanging notes,” said Pacquiao, whose role as playing coach of the squad will be formally announced when Columbian Autocar Corp. (CAC) holds a press conference this afternoon.
Kia Motors, a major sponsor of the NBA and the 2014 World Cup, will make its PBA debut in October during the Philippine Cup and Pacquiao is aiming to bring his winning ways in the ring to the franchise that distributes the fast-rising Korean car brand in the country.