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    Pacquiao basketball career in doubt after injury - and that's not too bad a news for some fans

    May 6, 2015

    LET'S just say that Manny Pacquiao's career as a professional basketball player has suffered collateral damage from the shoulder injury the 'People's Champ' aggravated during the world title fight against Floyd Mayweather over the weekend.

    And believe it or not, that's not really too bad a news for some fans.

    A lot of basketball fans have never really grown comfortable seeing the global boxing hero playing in the professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), not only because it poses risks to his boxing career but also because they felt he doesn't belong in that level.

    Pacquiao, of course, is a longtime basketball fan who plays hoops to stay in shape in between fights, but purists have taken issue with the fact that the boxing star's fame allowed him a shortcut to a PBA career, at the expense of countless others in this basketball-crazy nation who work hard to pursue the same dream but never get there.

    A debate has raged on social media since Pacquiao was named playing coach of PBA expansion ballclub KIA Motors, an online wrangle that saw the country's beloved hero receive the most cyber jabs and upper cuts he has ever faced in his life.

    That issue has now become moot and academic, with Pacquiao set to undergo surgery for a tear in his rotator cuff anytime this week in Los Angeles. Doctors say it would take from nine months to a year for him to get back to full fitness, both for boxing and basketball.

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    Pacquiao, 36, can always rejoin KIA as a full-time coach but it is doubtful if he will ever be allowed to resume playing basketball in the PBA again - that is, unless he hangs up his gloves.

    Even if he insists on playing and gets his way, the public may no longer be as condoning, given that this shoulder injury he first suffered, according to his own admission, in a jet skiing accident back in 2009.

    If jet skiing can cost an injury that eventually haunted him in the infamous 'Fight of the Century' against Mayweather, he runs far bigger risks playing against professional basketball players a full head taller and several notches above him in terms of skills and weight class.

    And it's not like KIA will be missing a lot, from a purely basketball standpoint.

    In the four games that he has played for KIA, the congressman from Sarangani has gone 0-of-6 from the field - and 0-for-4 from beyond the three-point arc, averaging .25 points, .5 rebounds, .25 assists, .75 turnovers and 6.5 minutes on the floor.

    He scored his solitary PBA point from the free-throw line - where he is 1-for-2 in his career - but his quest for the first basket will have to wait a lot longer now.

    In fairness to the 'Pacman,' the KIA Carnival have not become the circus act almost everybody expected them to be in their rookie season, winning five of 17 games over two conferences including the last one Pacquiao played in back in February 25 against eventual champion Talk 'N Text.

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    However, PBA statistics also revealed that KIA is minus-32 points when Pacquiao is on the floor.

    So if there is anything that will take a hit from Pacquiao's absence at KIA, it should not be the game or the team but the PBA box office which rode on his popularity to attract new fans and heighten interest in the league.

    But will hoops fans be missing a lot? Not much.

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