HOLLYWOOD - From the looks of it, Manny Pacquiao is serious with his desire to play in the PBA.
Two days after regaining his world welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley, the Filipino boxing hero confirmed plans to suit up for expansion team Kia Motors in the pro league.
"Hindi pa naman final, pero may planong maglaro ako sa PBA," bared Pacquiao, confirming a story which the Manila Bulletin broke in the days leading up to the Bradley fight.
Pacquiao said the details are still unclear on what should be a history-making stint in the pro league, especially on how Columbia Autocar Corp., distributor of Kia cars in the country, plans to insert the eight-division world champion in its lineup in its debut season in the pro league.
Just last week, Columbia Motors, along with Blackwater Sports and Metro Pacific Investments (NLEX), were accepted as expansion teams, although the concessions to be given to the three will still be decided by the league in an April 24 board meeting.
If the plan pushes through, Pacquiao will become the first pro boxer to suit up in the 39-year-old league while following in the footsteps of former world champion Roy Jones, Jr., who briefly played semi-pro basketball for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the USBL during his career.
Aside from boxing, basketball is the biggest passion of the Filipino ring legend, who regularly plays pick-up games and has previously owned the MP GenSan Warriors in the defucnt Liga Pilipinas.
"Basketball nga ang cross training ko e. Itong laban nga kay Bradley panay ang laro ko sa gabi," he said.
The eight-time world champion is also an ardent follower of the game, especially the NBA and PBA, having idolized the likes of Johnny Abarrientos, Vergel Meneses, Bal David, Marlou Aquino, Nelson Asaytono, among others. He was also a big Ginebra fan during the Robert Jaworski era.
"Sila yung mga inabutan kong naglalaro," said Pacquiao, who is set to leave for the Philippines on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
However, Pacquiao will be clearly way over his head in the pro league.
At 35, he will become one of the oldest rookies to ever play in the PBA and among the shortest at 5-6 - only Eman Monfort of Ginebra is shorter among the current batch of active players.