All eyes on Pacman’s debut as playing-coach | Inquirer Sports

All eyes on Pacman’s debut as playing-coach

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 01:05 AM October 19, 2014
PACQUIAO

PACQUIAO

DESPITE the influx of topnotch rookies in this year’s draft, no debut will be more highly anticipated than that of Manny Pacquiao.

The eight-division boxing champion will lace up his basketball sneakers and will officially enter the pages of PBA history when he suits up today when his KIA Sorento and fellow expansion ballclub Blackwater Elite kick off the league’s 40th season.

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The league opens at the spanking Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan and according to an earlier Inquirer report, arrangements have already been made for Pacquiao to fit in the opening day match into his busy boxing calendar.

Algieri bout

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Pacquiao is currently preparing for a WBO title match against Chris Algieri. The match takes place Nov. 23 in Macau.

Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach relented to Pacquiao’s desire to show up on opening day after already laying down the rule that the Filipino ring icon could not play basketball while training for the Algieri bout in General Santos City.

“We’ll let him play a few minutes, that’s all,” Roach earlier told journalists.

Confirmed

Eric Pineda, Pacquiao’s business manager, had earlier confirmed that the more than 40,000 opening-day fans are guaranteed to catch a glimpse of the Pacquiao testing his basketball skills against some of the best hoop stars in the country.

According to Pineda, an arrangement has already been made, allaying fears that Pacquiao would stand his fans up on opening day. Pacquiao has sometimes ditched an event he has promised to attend and showed up for events that he had already earlier said he can’t make.

Schedule

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To fit things around his basketball schedule, Pacquiqao did some sparring in General Santos before arriving in Manila this morning. Pacquiao was scheduled to head straight to Bulacan  where he will fulfill his duties as the Sorentos’ try to notch their first franchise win.

Pacquiao is expected to arrive as early as the opening ceremony, where wife Jinkee Pacquiao will be the muse of the Sorentos during the lavish opening ceremonies set to start at 1 p.m.

‘Don’t hurt Manny’

Roach made it clear though, that he has only one request of the basketball players who Pacquiao will play against today.

“Don’t hurt Manny,” Roach implored.

Commissioner Chito Salud practically made the same wish, only this was directed to the pound-for-pound champ. Weeks before the season started, Salud said he only had one message for Pacquiao: “Don’t get hurt.”

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TAGS: Bulacan, league, opening, Pacquiao
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