MACAU – Mention basketball, specifically his Kia team in the PBA and you get Manny Pacquiao drooling like a toddler who has been handed a candy bar.
“I am so excited and I can’t wait to coach and also play,” said Pacquiao on Monday as he was wrapping up his breakfast of prime grade steak, broccoli and asparagus, steamed white rice and a bowl of oatmeal.
“I like basketball also but my priority is boxing,” he said. But since Pacquiao will be in the middle of training camp for his Nov. 23 defense of the world welterweight title against Chris Algieri at The Venetian, the fighting congressman seems uncertain whether he will spend more time coaching or playing.
“I might coach more because I will be in the middle of training camp,” said Pacquiao, who was drafted by his own club during the annual draft held over the weekend in Manila.
Trainer Freddie Roach, initially thought to be very much against Pacquiao playing hoops in the midst of a big fight, said they’ll get into a gentleman’s agreement over the training schedule.
“Four weeks before the fight, he will stop playing,” said Roach, who plans to set up training camp eight weeks before the fight in Pacquiao’s hometown of General Santos City.
Pacquiao said Kia will make its PBA debut on Oct. 19 against fellow expansion squad Blackwater possibly at the newly-built Philippine Arena.
It is not clear this early if Pacquiao will suit and play but the boxing icon insists he has the know-how to call the shots despite his lack of experience coaching in the big league.
“I have gotten some pointers on how to throw instructions from Freddie,” said Pacquiao, drawing laughter from those in attendance during a Q&A.
“I think I have the patience to coach and tell players what to do,” said Pacquiao, who will also be assisted in the coaching chores by Glenn Capacio and a handful of other rising taskmasters including Louie Gonzales and Rob Wainwright.
And what if they don’t oblige?
Pacquiao clenched his right fist and banged it against his left palm, drawing another round of laughter.
Then he blurted out a hearty laugh.