MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao is a hell of a boxer. Arguably the best in Philippine history. Maybe top five in the sport’s record books.
Is he a good government official? Some say yes, some say no. The final verdict has yet to be decided.
Can he play ball? Definitely. Many once saw highlights of him making seven three-pointers in one quarter during a tournament game in General Santos City, despite his unique shooting form.
But is he good enough to play ball in the PBA?
Well, is he a good singer?
Manny Pacquiao is going to be the head coach of new PBA expansion team KIA, which makes its entry to the pros in the league’s 40th season in a few months. It was a revelation of most significance that he officially mentioned it in a rather important press conference not long back.
Is he going to be at par with Tim Cone, arguably the best coach in Philippine basketball history, Norman Black, a grand-slam head coach, Yeng Guiao, or the other noteworthy coaches in the league? Of course not, but there’s no harm in seeing him go up against them.
But he also wants to play against guys like Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, and others, living a dream of his, which many say he’s been eager to accomplish for years. That’s great. There’s no harm in trying.
But to follow your dreams of becoming a PBA player by joining the draft, while assuming a head coach position for another team? Something’s not right in that scenario.
Which brings us to the obvious.
The PBA is not only the most noteworthy basketball league in the country; it’s also an incredible tool for advertising. That’s why teams change names, brands, logos, uniforms, and what not every few conferences. It’s why Purefoods would become B-Meg and would become San Mig Coffee.
Manny Pacquiao joining the PBA?
The attention that comes with that trumps everything.
It puts the PBA, at the least, in the global sports media landscape. Manny Pacquiao, a professional basketball player? Media outlets worldwide would be more that interested to learn more.
“After all, part of PBA is entertainment. It’s not just pure basketball contest, so in that sense, it adds to the so-called entertainment value,” according to a source familiar with the PBA front office.
“They’re looking at is as part of the entertainment value more than anything else,” he added, when asked of how the board members view the situation.
“To me, it’s more of a publicity beaming, more than anything else.”
As early as now, reserve Pacquiao a KIA jersey
Manny Pacquiao is going to be the head coach of KIA. So, it makes a great situation if he gets drafted to be a player of the team – making him a “playing-coach.” Nonetheless, there’s a chance another team could pick him up first. Maybe GlobalPort, which owns the No. 1 pick in the 2014 PBA Draft, or No. 2 Rain or Shine.
“I’m sure he made arrangements with the other teams not to draft him,” according to the source. “Undoubtedly, meron nang usapan yan na hindi siya kukunin nang mga ibang team.” (Without a doubt, there’s an agreement that he won’t be picked by another team)
But what if another club does draft Pacquiao? Will he relinquish his role as KIA’s head coach? Will the consequences of such a scenario be severe?
“You can imagine the fiasco if somebody breaks the gentlemen’s agreement,” says the source, who noted a similar happening 14 years ago.
In 2000, PBA legend Allan Caidic was nearing the twilight of his career and was a playing coach for the Barangay Ginebra Kings. To protect his players from the upcoming expansion draft of that year, Caidic made himself an unprotected roster member.
And then what happened?
“Yeng Guiao (coach of Red Bull) picked him.”
“Just so that he (Caidic) won’t play for Red Bull, he retired.”
And so ended the career of The Triggerman.
Needless to say, “It will be a big disaster if another team picks him if not KIA.”
Spoiling a tradition?
The PBA Draft is where future stars of the league first learn of their maiden teams. It’s a fantastic experience for them, and likewise for fans who have been supporting said players for years and are eager to see them get selected by a PBA team.
What many don’t know, however, is that before a PBA player is eligible to declare for the draft, they must receive an okay from the league after evaluation.
“Technically speaking, you are free to join the draft. But of course, there are such things as ineevaluate nila yung skills mo (they first have to evaluate your skills),” explained the source.
“Kahit nag apply ka, hindi tatangapin kaagan application mo,” he elaborated.
(Just because you applied, it doesn’t mean your application will be accepted right away)
Pacquiao is going to join the draft, which means he also should have gone the league’s evaluation process.
“It’s something unusual, really, because he’s not really a basketball athlete. The idea of the draft is for teams to get players to be up in their line-up. So, that’s not exactly in keeping with the so-called tradition of having a draft.”
Hypothetically speaking, if Pacquiao fails the PBA’s evaluation for rookies, does that mean he shouldn’t be allowed to join the draft?
Simply put: “There’s that celebrity value, which can help the entertainment value.”
The PBA has never lacked in flare and dramatics.
Commissioner Attorney Chito Salud said it best before Game 5 of the season’s final game pitting San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine: “we will give you more exciting games (next season),” he promised.
It’s what makes the league so exciting, so unpredictable, and, most of all, so beloved by the entire nation.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always right. – Rappler.com