Pacquiao's keen eye for basketball talent shows as target Pateno impresses in PBA rookie camp
Edmar Pateno is 27-year-old playmaker from Davao who has been a journeyman in the commercial leagues since his collegiate days at University of Manila ended in 2011. Jerome Ascano

IT seems Manny Pacquiao has an eye for basketball talent after all.

One of the boxing superstar’s potential recruits, Edmar Erwin Pateno, impressed in the PBA Draft Combine on Tuesday at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

The 5-foot-9 point guard pumped in 11 points, built around a flawless 3-of-3 clip from beyond the arc, on top of two rebounds and two assists against four turnovers in 21 minutes of playing during the scrimmage.

The 27-year-old playmaker from Davao has been a journeyman in the commercial leagues after carving out a name in college at University of San Jose-Recoletos.

Then he decided to enter the pro draft after a call from Pacquiao.

The incoming Kia coach, who has known the cager from his former amateur team, MP GenSan Warriors in Liga Pilipinas, called Pateno to express the team’s intention of drafting him.

Pateno, however, said Pacquiao made no promises.

That’s why the former Jaguar is also hoping to draw attention from other teams.

“I’m open about it and there are a lot of opportunities out there. Whichever team wants to get me, I’m excited.”

With the way he performed, Pateno seemed to have caught the eye of pro teams.

“I just wanted to go out there and give my best,” he beamed. “It’s been tough out there just trying to make an impression on the coaches. There’s really a lot of pressure.”

“But I’m so blessed I was able to deliver in the game,” he added.

The cat-quick cager said what coaches saw from his was just the tip of the iceberg.

“I made a couple of threes, some perimeter shots and layups, but it was nothing,” he insisted. “I wasn’t contented. I think I can give more.”

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