MANILA, Philippines – When the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs rolls around the corner, KIA Carnival player-head coach and eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will likely be busy preparing for his fight with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. instead of being with his team.
But Pacquiao doesn’t want to return from the much-anticipated May 2 bout in Las Vegas knowing that his Carnival, who now has a 3-4 record, just made it to the postseason.
He hopes to come back to a team who can make it all the way to conference finals and win the championship.
“Hindi lang pumasok [sa playoffs], mag-champion [rin],” Pacquiao talked about his aspirations for KIA after they beat the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 106-103, on Wednesday, February 25.
(Not just to make the playoffs, but to win the championship as well.)
“Impossible ba ‘yan?” asked the sure future boxing hall-of-famer. “I told you, nothing is impossible with God.”
Pacquiao has reason to be confident after his team’s win, where they did a marvelous job of sharing the ball and finished with 33 assists.
Pacquiao went scoreless, but a total of six KIA players scored in double-figures led by import PJ Ramos, who put up 24 points, 25 rebounds, and 9 assists.
It was the second straight win against a title contender for the Carnival, whose first two victories of the conference came at the expense of the Purefoods Star Hotshots and San Miguel Beermen.
“Ibig sabihin nun siguro maganda yung mga ginagawa ng players at sa training na ginawa namin, sumusunod yung mga players natin, so maganda yung resulta,” Pacquiao talked about his teammates’ performance.
(Maybe that means that the players are performing well in training and the results are showing during games.)
“Yun naman sinasabi ko sa kanila: basta sacrifice lang sa training. Pag dating ng game, hindi na tayo masyadong mahirapan, so tatlong malalakas na team yung tinalo namin, so I believe na yung (confidence) nang bawa’t-isa, ng team, nandoon na.”
(That’s what I tell them: just sacrifice in training. When it comes to the games, we won’t have as much of a hard time. We beat three good teams, so I believe the confidence of the team, in each other, and in themselves is there.)
Pacquiao says there’s a possibility he plays in KIA’s game on Saturday against the Blackwater Elite at the San Juan Arena. “Baka, baka din mag laro ako,” he said.
(I might play.)
The PBA has already announced that the bleacher seats of the stadium will be free to the public for them to watch the Filipino boxer before he leaves for Los Angeles to prepare for his fight against Mayweather.
After Saturday’s contest, the Carnival will have five more games left on their schedule before the postseason begins. They’re far from assured of a postseason berth, seeing as they currently own the eighth seed in the league standings and only eight clubs will advance.
But even in his absence, Pacquiao believes his team will step up to the upcoming challenges.
“Walang problema dahil yung mga assistant coach ko, yung mga coaches, alam naman nila yung mga ginagawa nila. Kailangan mag train nang mabuti ang mga players natin,” he said.
(That’s not a problem because my assistant coaches, the coaches, they know what they’re doing. The players just need to train well.)
KIA’s players have also been promised a great reward if their play will yield to more wins.
“Motivation ko sakanila is may bonus sa akin. May bonus sa akin,” Pacquiao said.
(My motivation for them is that they’ll receive a bonus from me.)
“May additional bonus pa aside from the normal bonus."
"Ginagalingan naman nila," he again said about their outing vs. Talk 'N Text, now 5-2. "At least may teamwork yung mga players ngayon.”
(There’s an additional bonus aside from the normal bonus. They played well. The players have teamwork now.) – Rappler.com