TIM Cone said he holds world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in high esteem for all his ring exploits. But once the Purefoods Star Hotshots step on the court and face Kia Motors in their PBA Philippine Cup match on Wednesday, they mean business.
“We have to be opportunistic in this game and make sure we go away with the win,” said Cone, whose team collides with the Sorento as Pacquiao returns three days after successfully retaining his World Boxing Organization title belt from Chris Algieri in Macau.
“It’s a great honor to be in the court with Manny Pacquiao, but once the game starts, no quarter is given.”
[See Mark Barroca says 'bawal humarang' rule won't apply when he meets Pacquiao in PBA game]
Game time is 7 p.m.
Cone said he isn’t taking any chances against a Sorento side that will try to draw the much-needed inspiration from their playing coach.
“Knowing Manny’s character, he won’t expect anything less,” noted Cone, the league’s winningest coach with 18 PBA titles.
[See No such thing as warm welcome for Pacquiao inside PBA court, says Purefoods star Pingris]
Kia deputy coach Glen Capacio welcomes the return of Pacquiao to the team’s bench, acknowledging that the presence of the boxing icon could bring the inspiration to the Sorento.
“Iba yung mabibigay niya (Pacquiao) at talagang mamo-motivate sila (Sorento) kasi iba yung nakikita nila si coach Manny sa bench,” Capacio said.
Pacquiao will be with the team for just the second time this season, suiting up for the first time since playing briefly for the Sorento during their 80-66 come-from-behind win over Blackwater Elite on opening night.
Kia, however, has lost seven games since then, including a 90-74 spanking at the hands of San Miguel Beer.
[See San Miguel Beer wins as KIA simply has no answer for Fajardo]
“Ang importante lang is maka-compete sa kanila (Hotshots) for 48 minutes kasi four-time champion iyan.”