Manny Pacquiao’s 3-year coaching gig with KIA ended last August 31. Now, it looks like the world’s only eight-division boxing champion will be moving over to serve as coach of Blackwater in the 2018 PBA season.
KIA and Blackwater share the same PBA history, having joined the pro league in 2014-15 season.
But with Pacquiao, who officially served as playing coach for KIA from 2015-2017 season, cleared to talk with another PBA team, Blackwater Dioceldo Sy said he has made an initial pitch for the Filipino boxing icon to be the Elite’s PBA coach and work side by side with current mentor Leo Isaac come the 2018 season.
“There is a strong possibility for Manny to coach Blackwater in the PBA. Wala namang problema yan kay Leo because he (Pacquiao) still wants to be involved in basketball,” Sy told FOX Sports on Thursday.
The affable Blackwater big boss met with Pacquiao, along with former 2-time world boxing champion Gerry Penalosa over dinner at the Shang Palace, Makati Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday night.
“We actually talked about ways how we can help Manny promote boxing in Beijing and Xiamen. And dun na din we talked about (the possibility of) Manny coaching Blackwater,” shared Sy.
The long-time sportsman-businessman is well aware that Pacquiao is not a “hands-on” type of coach, as evidenced by the way then lead assistant coach Chito Victolero and currently, Chris Gavina running the show for KIA. But Sy insists Pacquiao has a lot to offer than just “pure basketball coaching”.
“Of course, it will be very helpful for Senator Manny to share some tips on conditioning. We all know conditioning is much tougher for boxers, and aside from that, he can provide inspiration, a good working attitude and impart his big, fighting heart to the players,” he added.
Sy said he’s also aware that Pacquiao is starting a new cage league known as the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), which will kick off its maiden season on Sept. 23.
But the Blackwater team owner sees no conflict on Pacquiao’s involvement in the new basketball league that intends to provide players in the barangay and provncial or city level a chance to showcase their talent.
“Yung MPBL naman more like a league for the grassroots level and barangay level kaya di naman iyan magko-conflict with the PBA,” he said.
Meantime, PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said there’s no rule in the pro league that can bar Pacquiao from moving to another team as coach.
“Coach naman so puwede yun, para lang yan si Tim Cone na nag-move from Star to Ginebra,” explained Marcial.
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Photo taken from the official Facebook page of Goody Llido Penalosa