Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao turns peacemaker as KIA, Barako players lose cool
KIA playing-coach Manny Pacquiao looks like a frustrated man on the bench. Jerome Ascano

HE may be the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion and the only eight-time world division title holder.

But KIA Motors playing-coach Manny Pacquiao was the first to remind his players to keep their tempers in check during one heated moment of the Carnival’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Barako Bull Sunday at the Smart Araneta coliseum.

“Kalma lang sabi ko sa kanila,” said the 36-year-old boxing superstar when asked what was going through his mind during a third quarter sequence that saw KIA’s Mark Yee slapped with a flagrant foul 1 for hitting a driving Carlo Lastimosa.

Barako Bull won, 95-86.

The physical play escalated after the referees failed to make a call on Willie Wilson, who was caught giving Virgil Buensuceso an elbow off a screen as the Carnival brought the ball down court.

Following the lull in play, KIA import Peter John Ramos had some heated words with Barako’s Jake Pascual, prompting the proverbial cooler heads including the ‘Pacman' to intervene.

“Hindi naman,” was Pacquiao’s curt reply when asked if ever there was an urge on his part to field himself in following the series of physical plays.

Ironically, both Barako and KIA Motors figured in a near fistfight during a pre-conference tune-up match that referees eventually stopped due to excessive physicality.

[See Another tune-up game stopped as KIA, Barako players nearly come to blows]

The Carnival led, 74-59, when game officials decided to call off the game after former Energy big man Dorian Pena got off the bench and engaged in a verbal tussle with KIA guard David Webb.

Barako Bull coach Koy Banal also had some words then with Ramos, whom he claimed pushed him during the game.

But shortly after the game, both Banal and the 7-foot-4 Ramos hugged each other at centercourt.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“No, no,” said a smiling Banal after he was kidded if ever there were words exchanged between the two of them. “I just told him we’re just doing our job and he agreed with that. That’s why I love this game. Pagdating sa labas, magkakaibigan uli lahat.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos