by Ronnie Nathanielsz
"Fighter of the Decade" and eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao will be playing-coach of Kia Motors, one of three expansion teams set to join the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) when the pro leagues's third conference Governors Cup opens in October.
The PBA is the longest running professional basketball league after the National Basketball Association or NBA which is the premier league in the world.
The two other teams set to join the PBA are leading DLeague squads Nlex and Blackwater with each of the three new ball clubs paying the PBA a franchise fee of P100 million each even though they failed to get the concessions they were requesting the PBA board of governors to grant them in order to maintain some measure of
In an exclusive interview with the Manila Standard and reporter Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN, before he addressed a jam-packed crowd who braved the stifling heat for hours to listen to Pacquiao who is now regarded as a "Preacher Man" at a praise and worship gathering at the Cuneta Astrodome, the congressman who is now a professional basketball player aside from being one of the greatest fighters of all-time and more recently a preacher was excited about his foray into the PBA. .
Pacquiao earlier met with executives of Colombia Motors who are the Kia representatives in the Philippines before he proceeded to the Cuneta Astrodome.
He said he will play as a point guard and plans to recruit players from the expansion draft in July and would also look for assistant coaches.
The Standard learned that Pacquiao was eager to tap the services of former outstanding national coavh and Ron Jacobs disciple Joe Lipa with whom he met last week in General Santos City where the discussed basketball-related matters. Lipa told us he was totally impressed with Pacquiao’s sincerity and humility and added, “this man is for real.”
Pacquiao plays basketball regularly as part of his physical conditioning for his fights and also because he has a passion for the sport and believes that his moves on the court enhance his lateral movements in the ring.
When informed that Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera told us "the fight I want to see is Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr," Pacquiao said "I like that, its great but Mayweather doesn't want to fight me."
Asked what he was going to talk about at the service, Pacquiao said "it will be about repentance and relationships."
Pacquiao stressed that "when you decide to follow Jesus Christ, your whole life must be given to God and to glorify his name."
When questioned about how he combats temptation considering his past wayward ways, Pacquiao said "I always put the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand on the ground and thats what I am doing. My armor is the word of God."