PBA rookie and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao scored a single point on split free throws when his team Kia Cars clashed with Blackwater in the PBA Liga ng Bayan pre-season tournament last Saturday in Binan, Laguna.
However, when the 35-yearold Pacquiao makes his official PBA debut in the league’s 40th Season on Oct. 19, scoring a basket will be more difficult for the eight-division boxing champion than throwing a jab.
Blackwater’s defense smothered Pacquiao, holding him with a single field goal attempt – a three-point try that was short in didn’t hit the rim – while committing two turnovers in 10 minutes of action.
Pacquiao, wearing jersey No. 17 for the Kia Sorentos, did register a single point following a split free throw when he was fouled by Sunday Salvacion with his team in the penalty late in the second period.
Pacquiao, also an elected congressman from Sarangani Province, collected a rebound too when the leather fell on his hands as his Kia teammate tapped it on a rebound play.
Kia will play on opening day also against fellow expansion team Blackwater, and similar to the type of defense the Elite showed, it would be another tough day on the basketball hardwood for Pacquiao, who is again expected to play.
Salvacion and Chris Timberlake, who forced one of Pacquiao’s two errors in their previous game, took turns in guarding the 5-foot-8 rookie guard, and they will be tasked anew to play defense on him next time they meet.
A PBA coach, who asked not to be named, said that he expects his own players not to allow the boxing champion to score a basket. (Waylon Galvez)