KIA Motors stand-in coach Chito Victolero is hopeful injured playing-coach Manny Pacquiao will find the time to coach in the PBA Governors Cup, citing the profound impact the 'Pacman' has on the team by his mere presence.
“Malaking bagay 'yun (Pacquiao coaching) kasi he’s a motivator. Presence pa lang niya, malaking bagay na yun,” Victolero told Spin.ph prior to KIA's 81-78 upset win over San Miguel Beer on Wednesday night.
Victolero explained although Pacquiao's contributions to the team may not be seen in the stats sheets, the Carnival’s spirits were no doubt lifted by several notches in the six games Pacquiao played and/or coached this season.
According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, KIA is 3-3 (win-loss) in the games where Pacquiao was present in the team's debut season in the pro league and only 3-15 in the games that he missed.
More impressively, KIA is 3-1 in the games where Pacquiao played and 3-16 in games that he missed. However the Carnival are minus-32 points in the minutes where the boxing hero was on the floor.
“Iyung spirit namin tumataas, every time nagsasalita siya tungkol sa game or sa ginagawa namin kaya malaking bagay talaga si coach Manny sa mga players,” the stand-in coach said.
Pacquiao, selected 11th overall by KIA in last year’s draft, went under the knife on Thursday for a shoulder injury he aggravated during the fight against Floyd Mayweather on Sunday.
Doctors said Pacquiao, 36, will need from nine months to a year to return to boxing, and for that matter basketball.
KIA team manager Eric Pineda played down the effects of the injury, saying Pacquiao is always welcome to rejoin the team on the bench and assume his coaching post once he’s ready.
“Hindi naman problema kasi magko-coach lang naman na siya. Hindi naman siya maglalaro,” said Pineda who just arrived from Las Vegas on Wednesday.