AMID all the furor over Manny Pacquiao's desire to play professional basketball to add up to his ever-growing resume, Manny Piñol said he somehow understands.
“Nobody tells Manny what to do. What Manny wants, he gets,” Pinol, former governor of North Cotabato and a boxing commentator and promoter, told Spin.ph during the 'Let’s Get It On!' sports radio talk show last Saturday over 105.9 Balita FM Davao.
“When Manny was young, he had practically nothing. Now that he has the money, he wants everything.”
But regardless of what motivated the 'Pacman' to venture into professional basketball as player and coach of expansion team Kia Motors, Piñol said Pacquiao will be a major boost to the Kia brand and the PBA.
“If at all, it will be good for Kia as a brand. That’s added mileage in advertising and sales. It is also good for the PBA because Manny is a certified crowd drawer,” Pinol said.
Sticking to the positives, Pinol said Pacquiao can also bring in his expertise in physical conditioning and impart among his players the importance of fitness and preparation.
“Manny may not call the shots during timeouts but he can just stand there and look at his players in the eyes and that alone should motivate them,” said Pinol.
However, not all fans are as receptive to Pacquiao's plans as Pinol. Ordinary fans in Davao City believe Pacquiao is not fit for the PBA.
“Manny should just stick to boxing,” said Aniceto Malabanan Jr., an engineer.
Pacquiao’s last coach in the local basketball scene — Ronel Leuterio of the Royal Mandaya Hotel where Pacquiao played as a guest player early this year — said Manny may not have the skills to play in the PBA but he can be a motivational coach.
Simply put, Leuterio said Pacquiao playing in the PBA is much like having LA Tenorio fight Timothy Bradley or Miguel Cotto.