When I heard news that Manny Pacquiao might be joining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), my first reaction was “get it on…..”
Even if Pacquiao has shown diminished speed and power in his recent fight against Timothy Bradley, I still believe that he can excel in basketball as a point or shooting guard in the PBA. That would also be a “safer” choice for him because he won’t be taking occasional shots to the head. And any nasty or dirty basketball player who gives Pac–quiao a shot to the head will have to deal with the gallery or the crowd. Scary thought!
At almost 5’7”, Pacquiao will not be alone as the shortest PBA player today; rookie Eman Monfort, who stands 5’6”, is making waves in the league with his spunky style of play.
But Monfort is only 24 years old, while Pacquiao will soon be 35 years old. And how will Pacquiao fare when he bangs bodies with the bigger guards in the PBA, or with the giants who play on the wings or center? That remains to be seen but if Pacquiao maintains his physique in semi-fighting form, he won’t have a problem banging bodies with the smaller guards in the PBA.
So it actually excites me a bit to see Pacquiao playing in the league, and if he keeps himself in tip-top shape, he could excite the league for a few more years. Well, I would be happy if Pacquiao plays spunky basketball in the PBA well into his forties.
If Pacquiao excels well as a point or shooting guard and gets to play from 24 to 36 minutes and produces anywhere from 12 to 15 points per game, I would consider that a marquee showing for a rookie who enters the league rather late.
But then, I don’t think Pacquiao can come up with such good numbers if he dabbles boxing and politics alongside basketball.
Boxing, I must emphasize, is a demanding sport where a fighter must devote 100-percent of his energies. And since Pacquiao is still fighting at the elite level (even if he has a few years left for that), that means that any physically demanding sport will hurt his future chances in the ring.
So what am I trying to say? It’s simple: somebody has got to tell Pacquiao that being the “jack of all trades” might lead him to become “master of none.”
And at this juncture, I think Pacquiao embarking on a PBA career would do the league good, besides doing wonders for his health. If there is anything that I do not want to happen to our beloved Pacman, it is his becoming a “stepping stone” for younger fighters seeking fame and fortune.
How many shots to the head should Pacquiao take for him to realize that he is no longer the buzzsaw we saw up to 2012? I would consider it a capital sin on my part as a sports columnist if I will make Pacquiao believe that he still has what it takes to take on the likes of Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana, Erislandy Lara, Canelo Alvarez or even Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather had a hard time against Maidana not because the American was on a decline; rather Maidana was better than advertised and way underrated before his fight with the American.
As for joining the PBA, I would be among those who will tell Pacman to give it a try.