NOT just one, but possibly two or more players surnamed Pacquiao are looking to apply for the coming PBA Rookie Draft.
Apart from boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, his brother, former lightweight contender Bobby Pacquiao, is also keen to apply for the annual event among prospective rookies in the pro league.
Bobby himself confirmed his plan to Spin.ph, saying it was actually Manny who encouraged him to join the first day of tryout conducted by expansion team Kia Motors on Monday at the Sta. Lucia gym in Cainta, Rizal.
The elder Pacquiao is being considered to become playing-coach of one of the three new teams to join Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“Pinapa-draft ako ni Manny. Nagpapasalamat nga ako kay Congressman Manny kasi pinapa-draft niya ako,” Bobby said. “Si Manny kasi ang nag-e-engganyo sa akin”
The retired 32-year-old boxer bared he is only joining the draft, but doesn’t expect to be handed an instant spot on the Kia lineup.
“Papa-draft lang naman ako. Wala namang problema (kung hindi ako makuha), depende na kay Manny 'yan. Akin lang, focus lang, train hard, and then pray lang,” he added.
“Parang work na rin ito para sa akin, kasi focus sa game, more practice, more training.”
Asked if this is turning out to be a family affair for the Pacquiaos considering that a first cousin, Rene Pacquiao, is also taking part in the tryouts, Bobby was quick to deny it.
“Hindi naman. Mahilig lang kasi kami sa basketball,” said Bobby, who idolized Kobe Bryant and Kenneth Duremdes while growing up in General Santos City.
Meanwhile, a source told Spin.ph that Bobby is expected not to get a special treatment from his elder brother, who has been attending and supervising the Kia Motors tryouts.
“Wala pa. hindi pa sure si Manny, pero may tatlong galing sa Mindanao na shoo-in na sa spot,” said the source, who rattled off the names of Jonathan Pareño. Louie Medalla, and Pacquiao’s cousin, Rene, the former Southwestern University star.
Kia Motor team manager Eric Pineda also stressed Bobby will have to fight out for his spot in the franchise’s 14-man roster.
“It’s a decision to be made by the coaching staff and management. Kailangan convincing siya rito (sa tryouts),” said Pineda.
“Pero Bobby was here just to experience playing with some top quality players. Wala namang napag-usapan if he is really serious about joining the tryouts,” said Pineda.
“OK naman siya (kung sasali siya sa draft). He is a good player. Tsaka may abilidad naman siya. I don’t see why not.”
Pacquiao for his part did not take his brother’s plan seriously, saying the former World Boxing Council (WBC) 130-lb contender is just there to play.
“Nakikilaro lang 'yan,” said the `Pacman’ with a big laugh.
But Bobby declared he is ready to take on the challenges of the country’s crème dela crème.
“OK lang naman, ekspiriyensyado naman ako sa mga games. I think I can feel the PBA,” said Bobby, who only recently played in the open tournament his brother organized last summer.
Dubbed as ‘The Sniper’ during his boxing prime, Bobby bared he also has no collegiate basketball background.
“Hindi ako nag try-out dati. Sa school, laro-laro lang.”
For podcast of full interview on Bobby Pacquiao, click HERE