MANNY Pacquiao has formally passed his application for the PBA rookie draft on Friday, setting into motion his intention to be a player and head coach of Kia Motors when the expansion ballclub makes its debut in the pro league’s 40th season this October.
Kia team manager Eric Pineda confirmed Pacquiao’s entry into the PBA rookie draft on Friday during the press conference held just after the dispersal draft at the Tito Chef’s in Microtel in Libis, Quezon City.
“The documents (Pacquiao’s application) are already with the commissioner,” Pineda said, speaking on behalf of the eight-division world boxing champion who failed to attend the dispersal draft since he is in General Santos taking care of his sick wife Jinkee.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud Pacquiao said won’t be given any special concession in the draft, saying like every other rookie applicant the boxing hero will have to “follow the rules accorded to all other incoming rookies."
“We wish him (Pacquiao) luck. And as previously committed, he will go through the normal procedure. The PBA will also observe all the rules that ought to apply to all the rookie applicants,” said Salud.
Since Kia owns the 11th overall pick in the August 24 rookie draft, Pineda is confident that the PBA board of governors will respect Pacquiao’s decision to join the annual draft by not selecting him during the first round.
“I think everybody in the PBA board of governors would respect Manny’s decision and they will realize he’s already announced that he’ll be the playing coach for Kia. Hopefully, they (other PBA teams) will not pick him (in the draft),” added Pineda, who also serves as Pacquiao’s longtime business manager.
Meantime, Pineda reiterated that Pacquiao’s serious bid to join the PBA as a player and coach won’t be a distraction even as the fighting congressman from Saranggani is also preparing for his title defense against Chris Algieri in the gambling enclave of Macau on November 22.
“His fight in November is already set in Macau, so Manny will be training in Manila,” he said. “In fact, we’ve been preparing a training gym to be right beside where we do our basketball practices para di siya malalayo.
“Ginagawa na 'yung aming facilities sa Azure (sa Bicutan), tapos dun na ang practice ng team. Dun na rin ang training ni Manny,” he added.
Columbia Autocar Corp. president Ginia Domingo also said they are ready to give Pacquiao all the leeway he needs while preparing for the Algieri fight.