Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquaio to play in the PBA?

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You can’t imagine Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquaio wearing a PBA uniform.

But believe it or not, the eight-division champion is serious with his desire to play in the Asia’s first professional league.

Playing for KIA

Pacquaio confirmed plans to suit up for expansion team Kia Motors in the pro league just two days after reclaiming his world welterweight title with a unanimous decision pummeling victory over formerly unbeaten Timothy Bradley.

“Hindi pa naman final, pero may planong maglaro ako sa PBA,” bared Pacquiao, confirming a story which the Manila Bulletin broke in the days leading up to the Bradley fight.

Pacquiao said the details are still unclear on what should be a history-making stint in the pro league, especially on how Columbia Autocar Corp., distributor of Kia cars in the country, plans to insert the eight-division world champion in its lineup in its debut season in the pro league.

Just last week, Columbia Motors, along with Blackwater Sports and Metro Pacific Investments (NLEX), were accepted as expansion teams.

However, the three expansion teams direct-hire rights were not approved but the league will still review that in an April 24 board meeting.

First pro boxer in the PBA
If the plan pushes through, Pacquiao will become the first pro boxer to suit up in the 39-year-old league.

He will follow in the footsteps of former world champion Roy Jones, Jr., who briefly played semi-pro basketball for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the USBL during his career.

Basketball is the second biggest passion to boxing for the Filipino ring legend, who regularly plays pick-up games and has previously owned the MP GenSan Warriors in the defucnt Liga Pilipinas.

“Basketball nga ang cross training ko e. Itong laban nga kay Bradley panay ang laro ko sa gabi,” he said.

The eight-time world champion is also an ardent follower of the game, especially the NBA and PBA, having idolized the likes of Johnny Abarrientos, Vergel Meneses, Bal David, Marlou Aquino, Nelson Asaytono, among others. He was also a big Ginebra fan during the Robert Jaworski era.

“Sila yung mga inabutan kong naglalaro,” said Pacquiao, who is set to leave for the Philippines on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

However, Pacquiao will be clearly way over his head in the pro league.

At 35, he will become one of the oldest rookies to ever play in the PBA and among the shortest at 5-6 – only Eman Monfort of Ginebra is shorter among the current batch of active players.

And if Pacquiao will be able to play in the PBA, it will be a big boost to the league who is greatly love by the Filipino fans.

— with reports from

Ed Umbao

Founder of | co-Founder of

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