From boxing to basketball: Manny Pacquiao named head coach of KIA franchise

MANILA, Philippines - After dominating the world of boxing and entering public service, the People's Champ Manny Pacquiao is all set to conquer a new frontier: basketball.  

The 35-year old, 8-division champ and current WBO welterweight titleholder was named head coach of the KIA Columbian Autocar Corporation in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), as announced during a press conference on Monday, June 9 at the Pacific Star Building in Makati. 

KIA is set to be one of 3 new teams entering the PBA in its 40th season, which will start on October 19.  

KIA, who is still currently holding a contest to determine their team monicker for next season, is also still in the thick of putting together a team.  

Pacquiao said he will be bringing the lessons and skills his learned from boxing to the PBA. 

On comprising a formidable team and going up against multi-titled coaches such as Tim Cone and Norman Black, Pacquiao said he will prepare and that his modest goal for the team in the first conference is "huwag mapahiya." (We don't want to be an embarrassment.)

"Hindi man ganoon kagaling, pagagalingin namin yun. Padadaanin yun sa training na gagawin ko sa kanila," he said. (We may not be that good, but we will make the team better. I will have the players go through my training.) 

One of the biggest concerns about Pacquiao's new job is how he will juggle all of his duties. 

Pacquiao, who is also a congressman in the Sarangani province, is set to prepare for his next bout on November 23, which will collide with the PBA's season-opening Philippine Cup conference. 

Pacquiao stressed that everything will be a matter of time management.   

On the matter of being a playing coach, like Robert Jaworski once was for Ginebra, Pacquiao maintained that his focus is on being a head coach first. Though he did say he was open to the idea.  

"I will follow the rules and regulations of the PBA," he said. "Basta ang focus ko ngayon is head coach." (My focus right now is being head coach.)

Should he decide to become a playing coach, Pacquiao must go through the annual PBA Draft before the season. -