Boxing legend Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao has been allowed by his coach, Freddie Roach, to play in Kia Sorento’s first Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game.
Pacquiao, who is the playing coach of the Kia Sorento team was initially banned by Roach from playing the opener game on account of the boxer‘s ongoing intensive training schedule for his November the opening day.bout against American boxer Chris Algeri.
“Yeah, he asked my permission to play in the opening day for the fans, so I told him I’ll allow him to see action for only one minute,” Roach jokingly told a reporter who interviewed him last Friday at the Pacman Gym in General Santos City.
“Much as I don’t want him to play, especially in this period of preparations for a coming fight, I just can’t stop him completely. He loves basketball so much in the same way that he loves boxing, so I’m giving that to him,” Roach added.
He clarified, however, that he has only granted Pacquiao permission to play on opening day, explaining that their fight training has now shifted to a more intense level, and he does not want this schedule to be interrupted.
The boxing coach also urged Pacquiao to be careful and avoid being injured, even as he called on the opposing team to go easy on Pacquiao.
“I know how tough and sometimes rough basketball games here are and all I beg his would-be rivals is to please to take care of Manny. You can block his shots, steal the ball away, but please don’t hurt him, if you, indeed, treasure him as your boxing icon,” Roach implored.
The Kia team will make its PBA debut this Sunday, October 19, playing against Blackwater at the Philippine Arena.