BOXING hero Manny Pacquiao is open to lending the best players from the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) to the Philippine team for the Asian Games should the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas have a change of heart.
Pacquiao made the offer amid an uproar from Filipino basketball fans after the SBP announced it was no longer sending a PBA-backed national team to the quadrennial showcase set month in Indonesia.
“Walang problema ang MPBL magpadala ng represenative ng Pilipinas (sa Asian Games),” Pacquiao told Spin.ph while attending the final weigh-in for the annual weight loss program for his staff and media at the Palacio de Maynila.
“Para sa karangalan ng bansa ito eh, marami namang magagaling na players sa MPBL. Kailangan lang may magma-manage at magdadala sa kanila,” he said of a fledgling league that counts on players like Ray Parks, Allan Mangahas, and Harold Arboleda.
“Pero depende 'yan kung tatanggapin nila, pero ready tayo (sa MPBL) anytime."
Asked if money will be a problem should MPBL be tasked to send players to the Asiad, Pacquiao was quick to respond, “Walang problema yun. Hindi pinaguusapan yun.”
“Masarap mag-represent sa bansa, sa ating bandila, bukod sa masarap makapagbigay ng kasiyahan at honor sa ating bansa,” he continued. “Dapat mayroon tayong team para masaya at para represented tayo.”
The 39-year old southpaw said there is no greater feeling for an athlete than wearing the Philippines’ tri-colors.
“Iba ang feeling pag pinaglalaban mo ang bansa, lalong iba ang feeling pag nakikita mo na pinagdadasal ka ng bansa at todo cheer sila sa yo,”
Pacquiao said national basketball teams competing overseas have always been a source of joy and pride for Filipinos.
“Syempre masaya sana kung may team tayo sa Asian Games, may mache-cheer tayo, masaya tayong lahat na mga Pilipino. At makapagdala ng karangalan sa bansa natin,” said the world's only eight-division world champion.
“Alam natin mga Pilipino mahilig talaga sa basketball, mas una pa nga yan sa boxing.”
Watch the video of the interview with Pacquiao: