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PBA: Coach Manny to join Kia?

Manny Pacquiao

Manila, Philippines – After easily defending his WBO welterweight title last Sunday, boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao hopes to return to his other love – basketball as he resumes his job as playing-coach of expansion Kia Motors in the PBA.

Pacquiao’s business manager and KIA team manager Eric Pineda said yesterday Pacquiao is likely to coach Kia tomorrow when it takes on Grand Slam champion Purefoods Star at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“That’s what he told me,” said Pineda when contacted by TEMPO.

Pacquiao won in convincing fashion against American Chris Algieri during their championship bout in Macau and was scheduled to return to Manila last night.

Prior to the fight, Pineda said that what he and Pacquiao, who will turn 36 next month, discussed about rejoining the team as soon as possible is when there is no serious threat to his health after the fight.

Pacquiao was dominant against Algieri, and although he was hit several times during the fight, he wasn’t extremely hurt. This is the reason Pineda isn’t discounting the possibility the prized fighter from General Santos City might even consider playing against the Hotshots.

Pacquiao coached and played in Kia’s opening game victory against fellow expansion team Blackwater during the PBA’s 40th Season opening last Oct. 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Pacquiao, who also dabbles as TV host, preacher congressman of Sarangani Province, was scoreless in seven minutes with a pair of turnovers in a come-from-behind 80-66 win.

Kia has since dropped seven straight games and is in danger of missing the quarterfinal stage of the Philippine Cup. Aside from Purefoods, Kia will still face Meralco on Dec. 3 and NLEX on Dec. 7.

All the Kia players and coaching staff were present during Pacquiao’s fight, and according to Pineda, “Manny hopes to inspire the players to continue fighting” just like he did in boxing.