ALTHOUGH he’ll be entering a whole new ballgame as Kia Motors' head coach, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said he intends to incorporate his strict training regimen to his new PBA team before it makes its debut in the pro league's 2015 season this October.
Pacquiao said he’s fully aware of the serious task of forming a competitive team as well as pitting coaching skills with multi-titled PBA coaches like Tim Cone and Norman Black, but he assures PBA fans that his team won’t be a pushover in its maiden season.
“Siyempre, yung mga 'yun (Cone and Black), datihan na sila at players nila eh Class A, pero ang focus namin sa team is yung stop the scoring, yung defense,” Pacquiao said after being officially announced as Kia’s head coach for the coming 40th season of the pro league.
On hand to welcome the eight-division world boxing champion were Jose Chavez Alvarez, chairman of Columbian Autocar Corp., distributor of Kia Motors in the country, as well as company president Ginia Domingo.
“Kailangan paigtingin, pero di naman natin sinasabi na yung makukuha naming players eh di ganun kagaling. Pero pagagalingin namin 'yun. Dadaanan natin sila sa training na gagawin ko sa kanila,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd at the Salvatorre Lounge in Kia’s head office in Makati.
The 35-year-old congressman of Saranggani said his preparation for his last two fights against Brandon Rios and Tim Bradley, who he beat a few months ago to wrest the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown, included cross-training in basketball and plyometrics.
And some of his pre-fight training will become part of his intense workout for his future Kia basketball squad, which he hopes would give traditional PBA powerhouse squads like Talk ‘N Text and San Mig a run for their money.
“Iba’t iba (ang training) pero kapag ako kasi nagte-training sa boxing, halimbawa eh yung last fight ko kay Bradley at Rios, in one week, may one day ako na basketball lang gagawin namin,” he recalled.
“Puwedeng paghaluin din yung training na gagawin ko sa boxing at basketball, especially plyo,” he added.
Over the last two weeks, Pacquiao has conducted open tryouts for current free agent players as he tries to get a good idea on the kind of team he’ll be forming for Kia’s first season in the PBA.