THE head of Columbia Autocar Corporation on Friday declined to discuss the company's plan to tap boxing hero Manny Pacquiao as the playing coach of its PBA expansion team, saying only that everything is still "fluid" at the moment.
Ginia Domingo, head of the company that distributes Kia vehicles in the country, made her first appearance in a league game since the approval of their PBA application, sitting at ringside for Game One of the San Mig-Talk 'N Text title series at the Big Dome.
Domingo was in the company of Pacquiao's business manager Eric Pineda, which all the more bolstered the looming basketball partnership between the Korean car brand and the global boxing icon.
Pineda, for his part, readily debunked fears that the ring icon’s planned foray into the pro league was a publicity stunt but was something that was “borne out of his passion for basketball.”
“Kasi people don’t realize or don’t know that Manny has been involved in managing and coaching a basketball team for quite some time, yung Liga Pilipinas,” Pineda told Spin.ph.
Pineda pointed out that Pacquiao has personally managed and even coached the MP Warriors in the now defunct Liga Pilipinas and other minor leagues.
“May sariling team siya diyan eh. Siya nagma-manage at siya nagko-coach diyan (MP Warriors) so, this is another career for him later on, dahil love niya talaga ang basketball,” he said.
Pineda said Pacquiao and Kia are still studying their options, now that it has become clear that the 35-year-old boxer will have to go through the rookie draft if he wants to be a playing coach of Kia Motors.
“We’ve had some talks (with Kia management), and everything naman is very positive. Pero siyempre, we still have to do a lot of work, before everything is finalized,” he said.
“Siyempre, may mga policies and guideliens ang PBA that we also have to look into, kung merong conflict or what.”
But Pineda reiterated that for the moment, everyone will just have to wait a little longer, until the world’s only eight-time boxing champion signs on the dotted line with Kia.
“Until the contract (with Kia) is signed, then it’s a done deal. But at this point in time, we still don’t have any contract. But like I said, our discussions especially with management is very positive. I don’t really see any hitch,” said Pineda.