IS Kia Motors certain of getting its own coach, Manny Pacquiao, with the 12th pick overall in the coming PBA rookie draft? Are there guarantees that other teams won't touch the boxing icon before Kia's turn to make its pick - and later use him as trade bait?
Kia team manager Eric Pineda admitted there aren't.
However, Pineda said the expansion team is hoping 'respect' among the PBA member ballclubs will prevail in the August 24 draft, where Kia hopes to exercise its first-round pick on the boxing hero.
“Hindi naman kami kabado na ma-snatch si Manny sa first round. Hindi naman siguro. Tiwala naman kami, syempre, bigay-bigayan rin naman yan (sa PBA board). Yung mga may-ari (ng teams) magkakaibigan naman lahat yan eh,” he said.
“Pakiramdam namin respeto na lang, di ba?”
The team manager of the Columbian Autocar Corporation-owned franchise bared they didn't ask for any special concession from the PBA board regarding Pacquiao’s situation in the draft.
“We just want to do it the normal way. Wala namang assurance from the other teams na hindi nila gagalawin, pero pakiramdam namin may respetuhan naman,” he added.
Pineda, though, admitted the reported decision of some standouts from the Gilas pool to pass up on the draft has raised fears that some teams picking ahead of Kia may target Pacquiao in the face of slim pickings.
“Oo naman, medyo manipis pa ata ang draft. (Yung hindi pagsali ng Gilas) medyo concern sa amin yun,” said the approachable longtime business adviser of Team Pacquiao.
Pineda said the team is open to trade up in the rookie draft, if only to ensure Pacquiao lands in Kia's lap.
“Hindi pa namin napapag-aralan 'yan, pero in case may alok na ganyan, we might entertain it… why not?” said Pineda.