Manny Pacquiao must be ready to accept failure, at least initially, as a coach in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The unsolicited advice was offered by Yeng Guiao, a veteran coach in the PBA and
Pacquiao’s colleague in the House of Representatives.
Guiao gave reporters his comments on the appointment of Pacquiao as head coach of Kia, one of the three new teams joining the pro league next season.
“At first, he will get all the attention. People will expect good results since he is Manny Pacquiao,” Guiao, who coaches the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, said. “But once the tournament kicks off, he’ll start losing.”
The boxing icon must realize that it takes time to build a strong team in the PBA, he said.
“You cannot build a strong PBA team in less than three years. You have to persevere. You will be a bottom-feeder…get thrashed for three years,” Guiao said.
Pacquiao, 35, the only boxer to win eight titles in eight different weight classes, has said he has the basketball smarts to make it as a coach in the pro league, having played street pickup games. He said he will also draw from his experience in the ring, where a lot of strategizing is needed to win.
Guiao, who represents Pampanga in the House, said Pacquiao must learn to roll with the punches every time his team loses. “If he can endure failure [in the PBA], then he can go ahead. But if you are Manny Pacquiao, why would you put yourself in such situation? If he can be happy with initially being beaten up, there’s no problem. But I am sure that if he is Manny Pacquiao, he won’t be happy in losing,” he said.
In his 23-year-career as a PBA head coach, Guiao has steered his team to championships five times. Under his charge, Swift won a title in 1992, Red Bull in 2001, 2002 and 2006 and Rain or Shine in 2012.
Guiao was also head coach of the Philippine men’s basketball team in 2008, steering the nationals to a ninth-place finish in FIBA Asia championships.
Guiao said Pacquiao will naturally want to field a strong team and pile up wins immediately, but he must be aware of the hurdles that stand in the way.
“He should realize that if he wants immediate success, he would have to get
top-caliber players which could cost a lot of money. That is the quickest way to strengthen your team. The question is, would KIA support him, considering that you are going up against Manny Pangilinan and Ramon Ang?” Guiao said.
Business mogul Pangilinan owns PBA teams Talk and Text Tropang Texters and Meralco Bolts, while Ang’s vast San Miguel Corporation conglomerate bankrolls Barako Bull Energy, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and San Miguel Beermen.
Of the 10 teams in the PBA, only Rain or Shine, Air 21 Express, Alaska Aces and Global Port Batang Pier are not owned by either Pangilinan or Ang. Pangilinan, however, owns the expansion team NLEX, who is debuting in the league along with Kia and Blackwater.
Resources won’t be the only problem for Pacquiao; he also has to deal with the league’s salary cap. Each team can spend only P40 million to P50 million a year on players’ pay. That prevents Pacquiao from recruiting an all-star line-up for Kia.
“If he wants to get good players [with high salaries]. . . I doubt that he will use his money for that. The money will come from the company who hired him. And with the salary cap, you have to be creative,” Guiao said.
“Coaching is not physically demanding, but if you are already a coach and a boxer, it would be a waste to sacrifice his boxing for basketball. Barya lang ang makukuha niya sa basketball [He’ll only have pittance in basketball],” he added.