YENG Guiao is already a colleague of Manny Pacquiao in Congress; now the two are bound to be rivals on the PBA sidelines as well.
"Yes, that's quite interesting," said the Rain or Shine coach when news came around that the eight-division world champion has reached a deal to be the playing coach of expansion team Kia Motors in the next PBA season.
Kia's plan has drawn mixed reactions from officials and fans, with the eager anticipation of seeing the world-famous boxing champion making his debut in the professional basketball league at age 35 tempered by anger over what some felt was a "mockery" of the PBA and its players.
Guiao made it clear that he welcomes the development, saying, "anything that generates interest for the league, especially with a personality like Manny Pacquiao, is good for the PBA."
So long as Kia's plan is not "a publicity gimmick and they're really serious about this," Guiao said he is certain his colleague in Congress from the lone district of Sarangani will be an asset to the league for one simple reason.
"Manny Pacquiao knows what it takes to succeed, especially in sports," the multi-titled coach said.
Guiao, however, warned that the PBA playing-coach role will demand Pacquiao's complete dedication, more so since he will be tasked to turn Kia Motors into a competitive team basically from scratch.
The fiery coach, of course, knows whereof he speaks, having built champion teams from the ground up for franchises like RFM Swift, Red Bull, and now Rain or Shine.
"I hope it will be a very serious effort on his part since coaching is something that needs to be studied and developed," said Guiao, owner of six championships in the pro league.
And that's just the coaching part, he pointed out.
"And it's much more with playing in the league," he continued. "The PBA game is very physical and competitive. These are professionals who wouldn't want to lose, even to an icon like Pacman."
Does he think the 'Pacman' will succeed?
"We'll see," he said. "As I said, his advantage is he's an athlete who knows what it takes to win."