EXPANSION team Kia Motors is pleased with the rookies it got in Sunday’s PBA Draft, stressing all of them embody the fighting qualities of coach and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
“Dati ko pa sinasabi na ang kinukuha namin eh 'yung palaban, 'yung maganda work ethic, at maganda ang attitude,” explained lead assistant coach Glenn Capacio.
Kia picked the most number of players during the draft at 13 led by Pacquiao himself and his cousin Rene, although the biggest catch appears to be Fil-Am big man Kyle Pascual and noted scorers Paolo Taha of St. Benilde and Kenneth Ighalo of Mapua.
“Halos yung four picks namin, lahat gusto namin, kaya nagpapasalamat kami at nakuha namin `yung gusto namin, kasi di namin ine-expect si Kyle aabot sa amin, pati si Taha at Ighalo,” Capacio told Spin.ph.
Pascual, the 6-foot-5 big man out of San Beda, adds youth and ceiling to a Kia side that is looking to shore up its frontline for its maiden season in the PBA.
The young center averages 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds this season, where he hopes to end his collegiate career with a fifth straight NCAA title for the Red Lions.
On the other hand, Taha, the 6-foot guard noted for his defensive hustle, along with Ighalo could bring in the firepower from the backcourt.
The 6-foot-2 Ighalo averaged 15.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists with the Cardinals last season, while gaining more experience with the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in the PBA D-League.
“Makikita mo naman sa lahat ng players na kinukuha namin na makikipagpalitan ng mukha, kasi kung kukuha kami ng players na ang work ethic eh bulok, wala kaming mararating sa PBA,” he added.
Carrying the monicker Sorento, the top-selling sports utility vehicle in the US and the Philippines, Kia will play against fellow expansion squad Blackwater Sports in Binan, Laguna on October 4 in the first game of the double-header of the league preseason event called 'Liga ng Bayan.'
The PBA kicks off its 40th season on October 19.