MANILA – Manny Pacquiao, world’s boxing champion and lawmaker, had two turnovers and scoreless in his first game in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) but his KIA team remains triumphant, beating fellow expansion Blackwater team, 80-66, in the opening of the Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Pacquiao played only few a minutes in the first quarter and the Sorento found themselves trailing by at least 13 points but they rallied in the third quarter to come out with a rousing debut in front of the 52,000 crowd, the biggest crowd to watch a game in the country.
Little known LA Revilla topscored with 23 points while Hans Thiele and Reil Cervantes added 13 markers each and Rudy Lingganay finished with 11 points for Kia.
”Our defense in the half was not organized. I told them to remove pressure because fans are here to support us. We’re able to execute our plays in the second half,” playing-coach Pacquiao said.
KIA assistant coach Glenn Capacio gave credit to their players for overcoming jitters in the first half.
”I told them to just play their best. Manny is still adjusting. I’m afraid because he might get injury,” Capacio said.
Pacquiao is preparing for his upcoming fight against undefeated American Chris Algieri in November 23.
Meanwhile, PBA commissioner Chito Salud thanked the basketball fans for supporting the PBA, promising to bring more exiting games in the league’s 40th season.
”We’re happy in the PBA for our 40th season. More than the numbers, our target is we want to make our fans happy. Our games will be exciting this season,” Salud said.
KIA 80 – Revilla 23, Thiele 13, Cervantes 13, Lingganay 11, Saldua 7, Alvarez 4, Sanga 3, Webb 2, Padilla 2, Buensuceso 1, Ighalo 1, Alonzo 0, Pacquiao 0, Raymundo 0.
BLACKWATER 66 – Tiongson 10, Erram 10, Faundo 6, Nuyles 6, Menor 6, Cawaling 6, Artadi 6, Salvacion 6, Ballesteros 4, Rodriguez 2, Laure 2, Austria 2, Timberlake 0, Gamalinda 0.
Quarterscores: 12-21, 25-34, 63-51, 80-66.