[box type=”default” size=”large”] He is a player of PBA expansion team Kia Cars [/box]MANILA – PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) rookie and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao scored a single point on split free throw when his team Kia Cars lost to Blackwater, 88-77, in the PBA Liga ng Bayan pre-season tournament held last Oct. 4 in Biñan, Laguna.
Based on the result of the game, the 35-year-old Pacquiao got a taste of the PBA and possibly found it more challenging than he originally thought.
Pacquiao is expected to make his PBA debut in the opening of the 40th Season on Oct. 19 against Blackwater.
Blackwater’s defense smothered Pacquiao, holding him to a single field goal attempt – a three-point try that never had a chance. It was short. He also committed two turnovers in 10 minutes of action.
Pacquiao, wearing jersey No. 17 for the Kia Sorentos, scored his point on a split free throw from a foul by Sunday Salvacion late in the second period.
Pacquiao also collected a rebound when the ball fell on his hands as his Kia teammate tapped it on a rebound play.
Kia will play on opening day also against fellow expansion team Blackwater, and similar to the type of defense the Elite showed, it would be another tough day on the basketball hardwood for Pacquiao, who promised the PBA and his supporters that he will play.
Salvacion and Chris Timberlake, who forced one of Pacquiao’s two errors in their previous game, took turns in guarding the 5-foot-6 rookie guard, and they will be tasked anew to play defense on him next time they meet.
A PBA coach, who asked not to be named, said that he expects his own players not to allow the boxing champion to score a basket.
“Simple lang naman yan e, ang sasabihin ko lang kung maka-score sya sayo, umalis ka na ng team. Biro mo ikaw na player, yan ang trabaho mo i-iskoran ka ni Pacquiao, e sya ngayon lang nag-laro (in the PBA),” said the coach.
Last August, Kia Cars took Pacquiao as the 11th overall pick during the PBA Rookie Draft.