MANILA – Amidst speculations, KIA team consultant Joe Lipa clarified that Manny Pacquiao remained as the head coach of their basketball team.
Pacquiao has been absent from KIA’s games and practices for almost a month now. He was last seen in the games following his arrival from the United States after his mega-bout with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“He’s undergoing therapy on his shoulders. And he is also busy with his job in Congress. He’s in Gensan,” Lipa said in an interview, referring to Pacquiao’s right shoulder injury which required him to undergo surgery.
KIA governor Ginia Domingo confirmed that the management was informed of Pacquiao’s need of time to rest and recover.
“Yes, we gave him time to recover. Everybody knows he’s injured. Syempre, priority natin yung health niya (Of course our priority is his health). We will need him in the team and boxing most especially,” Domingo said.
KIA team manager Eric Pineda noted that having Pacquiao returning in the games at once may aggravate his shoulder injury.
“Na-istress kasi masyado yung balikat sa game. Kasi ‘pag nasa game, hindi mo maiiwasan na igalaw. Yung mga kilos na ‘yun, masakit eh,” Pineda said.
(The shoulder gets stressed in the game. Because when you’re in the game, you cannot avoid moving them. Moves like those, they hurt.)
Conversely, Lipa maintained that the boxer-coach was still able to watch the team’s games in television and instructed them thru phone calls with his assistants.
“He’s still the head coach of the team. He motivates and he gives instructions on what to do through the managers,” he said.
“Nanonood si Manny sa lahat ng games namin sa TV (Manny watches all our games in TV) then during halftime he will call his managers to relay his message to the coaching staff,” he added.
Pineda also clarified that there is no ongoing rift between KIA and Pacquiao.
“Hindi totoo ‘yun, otherwise kung may problema si Manny sa management ng KIA, eh di sana wala na rin kami rito,” he said.
(It’s not true. Otherwise, if Manny has a problem with the management of KIA, we should not be here.)