ANTIPOLO CITY - KIA Motors playing-coach Manny Pacquiao said he could have opted to play on Wednesday during the Sorento’s 88-77 loss to defending champion Purefoods Star at the Ynares Cente.
But Pacquiao said he elected not to play since his body was still sore, three days after his one-sided victory over American Chris Algieri in their world title fight in Macau.
“Masakit pa yung katawan ko so di na natin pinilit, sinubukan lang natin,” the 35-year-old reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight king said in a brief post-game chat outside the team’s dugout.
Although slightly under the weather after a busy post-fight schedule that included a motorcade in General Santos City and Sarangani, the boxing hero suited up for the game and even joined KIA in the pre-game warm-ups.
In the end, he deemed it wise to postpone his return to the KIA lineup.
“Di lang natin pinilit (to play) though kaya naman natin, pero marami pa namang laro eh,” he added.
Nonetheless, the Filipino boxing icon said he was pleased to see the Sorento play with a lot of energy and passion in a game where they gave the Hotshots a scare after erecting a 52-43 lead late in the third period.
“Maganda yung ano (performance), eh nag-collapse lang at naubusan ng stamina sa fourth quarter,” he said. “I-improve na lang namin ang stamina namin.”
KIA takes a weeklong break before returning to action next Wednesday against the Meralco Bolts, in a game the Sorento need to win to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive.