MANNY Pacquiao plan to cap a long, tiring day by joining KIA Motors on the bench when the expansion franchise battles crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra in the main game of the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday.
“Depende. Baka bumisita ako sa game,” said the oldest rookie in the history of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league when asked if he’s going to call the shots for the Carnival in their 7 p.m. match against the Kings at the Astrodome.
As if on cue, Pacquiao quickly tossed back a question to the reporter, saying, “KIA vs. Ginebra. San ka?” drawing laughter from the people inside the VIP lounge of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 who welcomed the boxing great and his family upon arriving from the US early Wednesday morning.
The 36-year-old KIA Motors playing coach was still in Los Angeles when the Carnival stunned San Miguel Beer during its debut game in the season-ending tournament, 83-78.
The upset came as a fitting consolation for Pacquiao, who suffered a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in their 12-round welterweight unification championship match in Las Vegas a few days earlier.
The 1-0 Carnival are looking to add to the Kings’ misery after the league’s most popular ballclub opened its campaign by losing its first two outings.
Pacquiao being in the game would mean a long day haul for the country’s most beloved son, who hardly enjoyed quality rest since arriving from his 13-hour flight from the US.
Following a sumptuous breakfast tendered by Solar Sports, a morning motorcade that took the ‘People’s Champion’ from the streets of Makati to Manila highlighted his grand arrival.
In the afternoon, the Sarangani Province congressman made a courtesy call at Malacanang.
Pacquiao and his family are set to leave for General Santos City on Thursday where another hero’s welcome awaits the eight-time world division champion.