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PBA: Pacquiao to play vs Bolts

PBA Kia Sorento vs Purefoods - November 26, 2014 (photos by Tony Pionilla

Manny Pacquiao

Manila, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao swore he felt the same kind of intensity that he had during his fights when he called the shots during Kia’s near upset of Purefoods last Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

Pacquiao’s Sorento, one of three expansion clubs in the PBA Philippine Cup, stood its ground against the powerhouse and defending champion Hotshots before melting away, 88-77, as its foes’ edge in experience finally kicked in.

“The team we were up against was a team made up of All-Star players and had a very good coach,” said Pacquiao, whose rag-tag squad even led the Tim Cone-mentored crew at the end of the first half.

The boxing star, who is barely a week from defending his world welterweight crown in Macau, has vowed to return with a bang in their remaining games against Meralco on Dec. 3 and fellow newcomer North Luzon Expressway on Dec. 7.

Both games will be staged at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and Kia simply can’t afford to lose to make it to the next phase depending also on the outcome of the remaining games of NLEX and Barako Bull.

Kia sports a 1-8 win-loss slate with the Sorento’s lone victory coming at the expense of Blackwater, which they mauled on opening day on Oct. 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Pacquiao said calling the shots gives him an adrenaline rush eerily similar to the one that he gets when he is about to be introduced by Michael Buffer on top of the ring.

“Basketball energizes me and I am very passionate about this sport,” said Pacquiao, who has no scheduled fight yet but is aiming to land a megabuck matchup with Floyd Mayweather in 2015.

Pacquiao was in full battle gear against Purefoods and even participated in the round-robin but wound up coaching instead of playing.

Against Meralco on Wednesday at the Big Dome, Pacquiao said he will suit up and spend some time on the court. (Nick Giongco)