Defiant Kia playing coach Pacquiao sets semifinal target in debut season in PBA
Manny Pacquiao rejoined Kia Motors for the first time in close to two months during the Sorento's preseason match against Blackwater in Binan, Laguna. Richard Dy

BINAN, Laguna - After joining PBA expansion team Kia Motors for the first time in close to two months, playing coach Manny Pacquiao has set a lofty goal of reaching the semifinals in the team’s maiden season.

“Ine-expect natin na makapasok tayo kahit sa semifinals lang,” Pacquiao said in a brief chat just an hour before the Kia-Blackwater preseason match on Saturday at the Binan Sports Arena.

While some basketball purists have criticized his foray into the league due to his inexperience in running a professional basketball team, Pacquiao simply shrugged off the criticism.

Kasama iyan (criticism). Kasama palagi iyan,” added the 35-year-old fighting congressman from Saranggani.

Nonetheless,  the 'Pacman' vowed to dig deep into his wealth of experience in boxing and hopefully translate it into victories, this time on the basketball court.

“Yung focus, hardwork and determination, lahat yun, gusto ko dalhin sa team,” said the 11th overall pick in the recent PBA rookie draft.

Pacquiao’s absence in the team’s preseason preparation was due in large part to his promotion and training for a match against Chris Algieri in Macau this November.

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