10 May 2014

Pacquiao For Kia Makes Sense

Pacquiao Basketball
Kia, together with NLEX and Blackwater, got the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) approval to form a team for the next season. However, unlike the two new companies, Kia does not have an existing squad in the PBA Developmental League.

One thing going for the company is that it has the backing of Columbian Autocar Corporation, the exclusive distributor of the Korean car maker in the Philippines. In the past, the company has sponsored various sports in the Philippines including the Azkals, while Kia has been a global sponsor of major sporting events such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the NBA All-Star Game.

However, many are questioning the sincerity of the company to win. Are they joining the league to form a competitive squad or just to get media mileage and television exposure?

This question became more prominent after global boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said that he has reached an agreement to be the playing coach of Kia Motors when the expansion team makes its debut in the PBA on 21 October 2014.

"Yes, maglalaro ako sa PBA sa October. Playing coach ako (Yes, I'll play in the PBA this October. I'll be a playing-coach)," the eight-division world boxing champion told Spin.ph.

Are they serious? Apparently they are, but not for lack of trying to form a competitive team. After paying PhP 100 million for a PBA franchise and receiving stingy concessions in return, Kia is left with no other choice but to optimize what is being offered.

The PBA did not allow the three expansion teams to directly at least one player from the amateurs from which to mold their franchise. The league also allowed existing teams to protect 12 of their player for the dispersal draft and gave the three expansion teams bottom draft picks. What is left for the three teams, like Kia, are scraps and overweight morsels.

Instead of running home crying over spilled milk, Kia did the most logical option. Since they are expected to have a terrible maiden season, Kia asked themselves, why not leave a big impression on viewers mind? They are guaranteed to have a sacrifice year, but this does not mean that they should get out without a big bang and make the season interesting.

So how else would Kia, a team with little history with basketball in the Philippines, grab season headlines?

Hire the 35-year old boxing icon as a playing coach even if he has the least amount of experience in coaching a professional team among the present crop of coaches. This is a joke. This is a comedy, but if it gets everyone’s attention for one whole year, why not? For PhP 100 million, every headline (mediocre or not) is still worth it.

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