Narvasa: Pacquiao ‘not a basketball player but a boxer’
New PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa acknowledged the value of Manny Pacquiao as a sports icon, but said that the onus of Asia’s pioneering pro league still has to be “basketball excellence” and that the eight-division world boxing champion should “find out what he should be concentrating on very soon.”
A report coming out of Gulf News on Friday night (Saturday morning in Manila) quoted Narvasa extensively as media there expressed their disappointment on Pacquiao being a no-show in the Alaska-Mahindra Philippine Cup post-game conference.
“He’s feeling under the weather,” the article quoted Narvasa as excusing the once pound-for-pound champion. “You have to understand that Mr. Pacquiao is a personality in himself, he has many engagements, and first of all, he is not a basketball player, he is a boxer.”
This marks the first time that a league official has spoken openly about Pacquiao’s ability as a basketball player,, and Narvasa said that part of his job is to uphold the interest of the PBA in putting premium on basketball excellence.
“Apparently his interest in basketball led him to the PBA and whatever time he has given, he has managed very well with the PBA, so I think that recognition should also be given to him,” staff member Ashley Hammond wrote in quoting Narvasa.
“Again, his many responsibilities, not only as a sports icon but also a lawmaker,” – he added in reference to Pacquiao the boxer and congressman – “prevent him going full-time into one activity, and the PBA understands the situation, but hopefully, eventually, he will be able to find out what he should be concentrating on very soon.”
Hammond was obviously was of those disappointed when Pacquiao didn’t show up for the presser, as he even tallied the boxer’s overall stats – “three points in five appearances and 32 minutes since being drafted as the PBA’s record oldest rookie in 2014.”
Narvasa went on to say that: to me as a commissioner, there are pros and cons: First of all he brings a lot of variety, Manny is a sports icon in himself and whether he goes into the PBA or not he will draw crowds, but the whole concentration of the PBA has to be basketball excellence.
“That’s where I put myself in. I have to look at the interests of the PBA in (a player) excelling in basketball,” he said. “If him (Pacquiao) coming into the team helps Mahindra do that, then of course we have to show him support, and if it does not, then I think it could also be detrimental in the long term.”
Hammond also went on to cite a life-time ban handed out by Narvasa predecessor Chito Salud on San Mig import Daniel Orton, who branded Pacquiao as “a joke” as a basketball player last season.