Expansion team Kia Motors will parade a collection of role players or benchwarmers when it makes its debut in the PBA next month.
No star player except for the team’s player-coach in boxing icon Manny Pacquaio.
But that is just fine for Pacquiao and his assistant coach Glenn Capacio.
“Sabi nga ni Coach Manny, yan talaga ang gusto nya na team,” said Capacio during the meet-and-greet of Kia players and coaches at the World Trade Center in Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.
Among the players of Kia is former Far Eastern University stalwart Reil Cervantas, originally picked by Ginebra in 2011 but after just one forgettable t season that saw him play minimal minutes he returned to the D-League.
Together with several other veterans like LA Revilla, Mike Burtscher, Hans Thiele, Rich Alvarez and Chito Jaime, they were the first members of the team as they were taken during the PBA Expansion Draft.
Other members of the team are rookies Kyle Pascual and Kenneth Ighalo, a product of Mapua who is considered one of the players to watch for Kia with his impressive showing in the team’s tune-up games.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao was a no-show during the event last Sunday since he is already in the crucial stage of his training for his fight next month against American challenger Chris Algieri in Macau.
However, Kia’s representative to the PBA Board of Governors Ginia Domingo said that Pacquiao will coach and play when the Sorentos make their PBA debut opposite fellow expansion team Blackwater Elite on Oct. 19.
“He will play, he will coach. He has already given his commitment to PBA Commissioner Chito Salud. Actually I can’t wait to see him play with the rest of the team,” said Domingo.
“It’s very exciting, and really heartwarming to see the players, and the people are lining up to get their autographs. I think this is a true test that the public is accepting the team – a new team in the PBA,” she added.