Manny Pacquiao plans to continue playing and coaching professional basketball in the Philippines even as he trains for his monumental fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. this spring, according to ABS-CBN News.
The Philippines news site reported Monday that not only will Pacquiao suit up Wednesday for the Kia Carnival of the Philippine Basketball Assn. for its game against the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.
According to the report, Pacquiao plans to remain part of the team as he prepares for his May 2 fight against Mayweather. Pacquiao refers to basketball as "cross training" and says it's good for his "footwork and balancing."
The report comes a day after another Philippines news site, PhilStar.com, ran a story quoting PBA and Kia officials as saying they would give Pacquiao a leave of absence to accommodate his training schedule.
“This is for the country. I’m sure our PBA fans will be gracious and understanding given this big challenge that our Pambansang Kamao will be facing,” top Kia basketball official Ginia Domingo said, using a local nickname for the popular athlete/congressman.
One reason Pacquiao may want to stay on the court is momentum. Last Wednesday against the Purefoods Star, he played 4 minutes, 39 seconds off the bench and went 0 for 2 from the floor.
But Pacquiao also went 1 for 2 from the free-throw line to score his first-ever PBA point and help the Carnival claim a 95-84 win.