PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa tried to explain Mahindra playing coach Manny Pacquiao's absence from a press conference ahead of the league's overseas games over the weekend.
He ended up giving a frank assessment of Pacquiao the basketball player.
Asked about Pacquiao's absence from the press conference for the Mahindra-Alaska game to the Dubai-based media on Friday, Narvasa, quoted by Gulf News, said the Mahindra playing-coach is a 'personality in himself' and therefore is tied down by numerous engagements.
“You have to understand that Mr. Pacquiao is a personality in himself, he has many engagements, and first of all he is not a basketball player, he is a boxer,” said Narvasa of Pacquiao as quoted by Gulf News.
“Apparently his interest in basketball led him to the PBA and whatever time he has given, he has managed very well with the PBA, so I think that recognition should also be given to him."
Narvasa explained that Pacquiao was 'feeling under the weather' and asider from that wears many hats being also a lawmaker. But at the same time, the new league chief expressed hope that the global icon will soon realize what he should be focusing on soon.
Narvasa also gave a frank assessment when asked about Pacquiao's foray into basketball.
“Well, to me as a commissioner, there are pros and cons. First of all he brings a lot of variety, Manny is a sports icon in himself and whether he goes into the PBA or not he will draw crowds, but the whole concentration of the PBA has to be basketball excellence.
“That’s where I put myself in. I have to look at the interests of the PBA in excelling in basketball. If him coming into the team helps Mahindra do that, then of course we have to show him support and if it does not then I think it could also be detrimental in the long term.
“Marketing-wise there’s no question, it’s brilliant, whoever thought of that is brilliant, he draws crowds and it’s tremendous, but in terms of basketball excellence, you know, he’s not really a basketball player, he’s a boxer.”
As for Pacquiao's playing appearance in a Mahindra uniform, Narvasa said: “No, I think they’ve managed to regulate his playing time and there’s definitely a lot of interest when he plays.”