Pacquiao returns for KIA’s must-win PBA game

MANILA, Philippines – In the face of potential elimination, KIA Carnival will have its playing coach on hand for support. 

Manny Pacquiao attended just the second game of his team in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, June 24 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

His presence is timely, as the Carnival, with its 4-6 record, and are in danger of being eliminated. Yet the expansion team is also playing for a franchise-first playoffs appearance. 

Sabi ko play hard (I told them to play hard),” the 8-division world champion boxer shared what he told his team in a broadcast interview. “Kailangan mabilis yung laro (The game should be fast) and also focus on the game. We need to win this game.” 

Pacquiao, 36, was unavailable for most of the season-ending Governors’ Cup with a busy schedule for his highly anticipated bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr last May. The Congressman of Saranggani lost the fight by unanimous decision and had to nurse a shoulder injury right after.

Upon his return to the country, Pacquiao promptly attended KIA’s game against Barangay Ginebra at the Cuneta Astrodome.

In order to advance to the quarterfinals, KIA must defeat Meralco and hope that Ginebra loses against NLEX in the day’s second game. But to ensure their fate, the Carnival must win by at least 17 points, which will effectively oust even the victorious Gin Kings. 

Masaya naman ako sa pinapakita ng players namin na talagang tumatakbo (I’m happy with what my players are showing and they’re really running),” said of his team which took a 44-41 halftime lead and was on top by as much as 9 points. 

Kailangan i-improve pa yung defense and offense (We need to improve our defense and offense),” Pacquiao added.

Pacquiao no longer has the sling on his shoulder and said he is undergoing rehab on it. –