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Manny to join Blackwater?


PhilBoxing.com




Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said the other day he has spoken with Sen. Manny Pacquiao on the possibility of joining the Elite as head coach and expressed optimism that the move from Mahindra could happen this PBA season.

Sy, who came close to managing Pacquiao during his early years as a boxer, said Blackwater will welcome the reigning WBO welterweight champion with open arms if he decides to switch. ?I told Manny I wouldn?t be able to afford him but our door will always be open,? said Sy. ?If he joins, I think it will be a marketing coup. I?ve talked to (Blackwater head coach) Leo (Isaac) about it and he?s just as excited to welcome Manny. Of course, it will be a titular position. Leo will continue to call the shots but anytime Manny wants to be involved, why not? He?ll be a tremendous asset to our team.?

Sy said a text from former world boxing champion Gerry Penalosa early last month set the ball rolling. ?Every chance I get, I bring up the possibility of joining Blackwater to Manny,? he said. ?But he would always just smile. Then, Gerry texted to wish me a happy birthday and mentioned that Manny might be ready to cross over to us. That was the best birthday gift. So I texted Manny about it and he replied within 15 minutes. I think Manny will take up the option with Mahindra.?

Sy said after he arrives from a trip abroad on April 20, he?ll visit Pacquiao in General Santos City. ?I don?t want to push it because Manny has a fight on July 2 and he?ll be busy training,? he said. ?The Senate is now in recess so I?m not sure what Manny?s schedule will be like this month. But I hope to visit Manny in GenSan and discuss the possibility. I want to assure Manny that I?m serious about this.?

Pacquiao, 38, has played sparingly in two PBA seasons with the Kia/Mahindra franchise. In 2014-15, he saw action in only four games, scoring a free throw. Last season, Pacquiao tallied six points, including a triple, in five of Mahindra?s 35 games. He didn?t play in the recent Philippine Cup.

Sy said despite Blackwater?s 0-4 start in the ongoing Commissioner?s Cup, he?s optimistic things will turn around. Last Saturday, the Elite posted its first win of the conference, outlasting GlobalPort, 118-113, behind NBA veteran Greg Smith?s 40 points and 19 rebounds. ?We?re very happy with Greg, it?s the local support that?s been lacking,? he said. ?Greg?s not flashy, has no attitude problem. He works hard, he gets along with everyone and he?s a big-time player.?

Sy said coping with the injuries of starters Mac Belo, Art de la Cruz and Poy Erram has been difficult. Belo underwent an operation to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Randolph Molo performing the 25-minute procedure at St. Luke?s Global City last week. Belo, a Gilas rookie in the PBA, will be out for two months. De la Cruz went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left heel during a Gilas practice and will sit out four months. Erram suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the last Governors Cup and may return to action before the playoffs this conference.

?We?re still working on our end-game poise,? said Sy. ?We tend to collapse in the last three to four minutes. We lost to Phoenix by two in double overtime and to TNT by three. It?s harder now to win without Mac, Art and Poy. Luckily, GlobalPort offered KG (Canaleta) to us. We initially proposed a straight trade with Dylan Ababou but commissioner Chito (Narvasa) asked for more balance so we included James Forrester in the deal. We also brought in Mark Cruz to give us more depth at point guard. Mark used to play with Blackwater in the PBA D-League so we know his capabilities.?

Blackwater?s next game is against Meralco at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on April 16. Then, the Elite will take on Star on April 22, NLEX on May 3, Mahindra on May 7, Barangay Ginebra on May 26 and San Miguel Beer on May 31.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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