Pacquiao swaps ring for hoops

accreditation
Manny Pacquiao (File)
Manny Pacquiao (File)

Miami - Erik Spoelstra might not be the Philippines' favourite basketball coach anymore.

Manny Pacquiao is taking over as a basketball coach in the Philippines Basketball Association. The long-time boxing champion was introduced this week as the coach of a new Kia team in that league, with the season opening in October.

Spoelstra is wildly popular in the Philippines, as the Filipino-American coach of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat. But even he acknowledges his status might have been surpassed by superstar Pacquiao.

"Well, I'm not taking a boxing job," said Spoelstra, who has close ties to his mother's homeland. "But I know he's a huge basketball fan, so it doesn't surprise me."

Pacquiao's love for basketball is no secret, and he said in the Philippines this week that he was taking the coaching position seriously.

"A great responsibility," Pacquiao said.

That being said, his next fight is scheduled for November, or shortly after the PBA season begins. The opponent remains unclear, though there's speculation that it could be a fifth bout against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao has been fighting professionally since age 16 and is 56-5-2 in his brilliant career.

Spoelstra is planning to visit the Philippines this summer and might cross paths with Pacquiao.

But a Spoelstra-Pacquiao coaching matchup is probably not going to happen. Spoelstra simply shook his head at that farfetched notion.

"I'll hopefully be able to see him this summer, see what's up," Spoelstra said. "Maybe I'll check out a practice."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
40% - 14879 votes
Cricket
12% - 4589 votes
Football
19% - 6963 votes
Athletics
3% - 966 votes
Boxing
1% - 366 votes
Cycling
2% - 879 votes
Golf
5% - 1875 votes
Motorsport
9% - 3207 votes
Tennis
4% - 1328 votes
Water sports
1% - 341 votes
American sports
1% - 460 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 1249 votes
Vote