Manny Pacquiao and Kendall Gill-A A +A
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Today there will be more eyes peeled at the annual Philippine Basketball Association rookie draft than usual.
And no, there isn’t a heaven-sent 7-foot something of a center, destined to lead the Philippines into world basketball dominance.
While there may be talented gems who could well be franchise players in the future such as Christopher Banchero and Matt Rosser, they will be not the reason for the added curiosity and interest.
Instead, fans will ogle the fate of a 35 year old rookie named Manny Pacquiao, who at 5 ‘6 “ is reportedly the 4th shortest player in the history of the PBA.
Yes, he has won 8 boxing titles in as many weight divisions, but prior to his PBA stint, hasn’t even suited up for any college varsity team or commercial team in a pay for play league.
And even though he won’t even be physically present as he will be in Beijing to promote his latest fight, everyone will be curious to see Congressman Pacquiao officially drafted as a PBA player.
KIA. It’s a foregoing conclusion that Team KIA will pick its own head coach, although there is potential for corporate mayhem and sabotage since Team KIA is reportedly pegged as the 11th pick.
That means there are 10 other picks (not teams, because there are some teams who traded their draft pick options) before Team Kia gets it turn.
I have been among the lucky few to have played against Pacquiao in a basketball game. When he visited Cebu a few years ago while training for his rematch against Marco Antonio Barrera, our sportswriters team played against Manny’s team in a scrimmage game.
I remember I got “posterized” the next day when incriminating photos came out showing me doing nothing while Manny was going for an uncontested layup.
Well, what did you expect? A lot can happen in a basketball game with hands, elbows and feet constantly moving and making contact. I couldn’t bear the thought of him getting injured on my account and risk postponing a world title fight.
Manny is physically strong and can sprint from court to court with ease. He also has a nice shooting touch.
But is he PBA material? It’s a case of ‘Res Ipsa Loquitor’ come game time.
KENDALL GILL. While Manny’s transition from boxing to basketball has been well documented, not many are aware that a couple of years ago, an NBA player became a professional boxer.
Kendall Gill was an NBA superstar who played for 7 different teams. He averaged 21.8 points per game when he played for the New Jersey Nets in the 1996-97 season.
He also led the league in steals in the ‘98-‘99 season averaging 2.7 per game.
SIMILARITIES. To me, the energy requirements in both boxing and basketball can be a bit similar. They both involve sudden applications of both speed and strength. There is also a lot of footwork going on.
Hence, the crossing over of a boxer and a basketball player into the other’s sport would be a more seamless transition than say, a weightlifter deciding he wanted to play soccer.
But in Kendall’s case, after showing up in a boxing gym he admitted that even though he was in NBA shape, he wasn’t ready for the more rigorous boxing workouts.
And he wasn’t even talking about sparring yet.
He couldn’t keep up with his sparring partner during their distance runs and he looked clumsy and awkward in the ring.
But he persevered nonetheless and was able to compile a record of 4 wins with 3 knockouts with no losses, as a cruiserweight. Three of those wins came in 2005 and though he retired for four years, he fought again in 2010 and won his comeback fight via knockout.
Unfortunately for Gill- though he had the potential, Father time came calling and he had to hang up the gloves at the age of 42.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my SHS-B ’89 batchmate, Dr. Gerry Ypil and future lawyer Ethan Victor Siu who recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2014.