LETRAN will not only have a certified billionaire for a supporter in its coming NCAA campaign, but likewise a legendary boxing champion.
The Knights recently gained a verbal commitment from no less than Manny Pacquiao to support the school’s basketball program starting in Season 90 of the country’s oldest collegiate league.
Rookie coach Aldin Ayo confirmed the 36-year-old boxing icon, who’s also a congressman of Sarangani Province, had already committed to school officials and coaches to help the cage program of the Intramuros-based institution.
Aside from his commitment, Pacquiao is likewise expected to attend the practices of the Knights, according to Ayo, who serves as one of Pacman’s coaching deputies with KIA Motors.
“He (Pacquiao) committed verbally,” Ayo said on Wednesday after Letran’s game in the Filoil preseason tournament. “Let’s see. He is going to support the team. Sinabi ni Boss Manny ‘yun.”
Ayo’s pronouncement came on the same day Pacquiao arrived in the country from the US following his 12-round megabout with American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Actually, Pacquiao has already aided the Knights in the form of a school tie-up with the Filipino boxing superstar’s MP Hotel team in the ongoing PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
Ayo, however, pointed out Pacquiao’s support to Letran, once the NCAA's most accomplished team, is not only limited to the D-League but also beyond.
“Actually we are expecting him to attend our practices and even join our training,” said Ayo, who took over the head coaching position of the Knights early this year from Caloy Garcia.
Letran star guard Mark Cruz said he’s definitely looking forward to seeing Pacquiao, a certified basketball buff, in practice and maybe, even play against him.
“Babantayan ko siya,” Cruz said.
That, however, may take some time as Pacquiao is still recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained while in training for the Mayweather fight.