THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will respect the decision of trainer Freddie Roach not to allow his ward Manny Pacquiao to play basketball four weeks before his fight with unbeaten American Chris Algieri. Pacquiao is set to make a debut as playing head coach of KIA Sorento in the 40th season of the PBA set to unfold on October 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Pacquiao (56-5-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) and Algieri, the defending WBO junior welterweight titleholder, is set to clash on November 23, at the Cotai Arena of the Venetian Hotel in Macau.
“We respected the decision of coach Freddie and it’s really up to Manny [Pacquiao] if he can still play,” Special Assistant to the PBA Commissioner Willy Marcial told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Friday.
“Manny told us that he would play two months ago but if he can’t make it that’s okay. Everybody knows that Pacquiao’s health remains the main concern.”
Roach, 54, who arrived in General Santos early this week to supervise Pacquiao’s training told GMA 7 that he is prohibiting Pacman to play basketball four weeks before his fight with Algieri to avoid the risk of injury.
“Our agreement is he can coach but can’t play until the fight night,” Roach told GMA7.
Pacquiao earlier assured his fans that boxing not basketball would be his top priority.