IT appears fans will get to see Manny Pacquiao plays on the hardcourt first than getting back on the ring.
The boxing superstar is ready to suit up as Mahindra makes its PBA Philippine Cup debut Sunday against early leader Rain or Shine.
Enforcers assistant team manager and long-time Team Pacquiao associate Joe Ramos said the 36-year-old playing-coach has already been given the go-signal to play or about five months since undergoing surgery to repair the injured rotator cuff he sustained during his May fight with retired Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The clean bill of health comes at a perfect time as the season-opening conference is still in its first week and Mahindra set to see action in Dubai in early November as part of a scheduled three-team road games that also involves Barangay Ginebra and Alaska.
“Nakakuha na kami ng signal from the doctor that he (Manny) can play,” said Ramos. “So even sa Dubai, Manny will already play.”
Originally listed in Mahindra’s reserved list, Pacquiao was reactivated Saturday along with Chito Jaime, according to PBA chief statistician and Spin.ph columnist Fidel Mangonon III. Relegated in the reserved list in lieu of the two are Papot Paredes, Joshua Webb, and Bradwyn Guinto.
Shortly after undergoing surgery in LA a few days following the Mayweather bout, doctors advised Pacquiao to rest for at least six to nine months as he goes rehabilitation for the injured shoulder that ensured he won’t fight again until next year.
Just the other day, Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum disclosed Pacquiao has asked him to schedule his supposed farewell fight not later than April 9 of 2016 as he seeks a seat in the Senate in the national elections set on May.
But Pacquiao, a congressman from the province of Sarangani, already joined Mahindra and his Pilipinas Aguilas team in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) during their pre-season games, making him obviously battle-ready for the Enforcers’ new season.
Pacquiao missed the opener of the PBA 41st season as he flew back to General Santos City on Tuesday to assist his constituents who were affected by typhoon Lando.
He promptly returned to Manila on Friday and proceeded to the Mall of Asia Arena to watch Game 1 of the NCAA Finals between reigning champion San Beda and Letran, of which he is the major backer.