WHO is the one Filipino this collection of NBA stars would love to have in the game?
It's boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
From skills coach John Lucas to Kyle Lowry, just about everyone among the visiting stars are eager to play with the 35-year-old ring icon when they take on Gilas Pilipinas in a two-day exhibition game beginning on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum
Lucas, however, was quick to draw the line. Everything will be purely playing basketball and not about engaging the eight-time world champion in boxing.
“We won’t box him,” said Lucas during the press conference for the event at the NBA Café in SM Aura on Monday.
“We would like him to come out and take on some of the guys,” added Lucas, who will mentor the NBA stars in the showdown with Gilas Pilipinas.
As everyone knows, Pacquiao is passionate about basketball which he does as part of his cross-training for a fight.
He has in fact been named head coach of expansion team KIA Motors which will be making its debut come the 40th season of the PBA this October.
Pacquiao watched a similar exhibition match involving NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, James Harden, among others, three years ago when they played a selection of PBA stars and the Smart Gilas team preparing for the 2011 Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Wuhan, China.
This time, Lucas is reiterating his call for Pacquiao to play for them.
“He can come out and play basketball with us,” Lucas said.
Lowry, the Toronto Raptors guard, made known he is more than willing to play Pacquiao in a friendly match.
“Shoot over him,” Lowry said when asked what he will do if Pacquiao tries to take on him one-on-one.