Amid the intense battle during this year’s campaign period, presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao announced on April 1 that he will be abandoning his ambition to claim the country’s top political seat. Instead, the eight-division world champion has committed to become the shooting coach of the DLSU Green Archers. Deciding to work with his passion, Pacquiao will be imparting his shooting prowess despite his crooked mechanics.
As the Green Archers find no struggle in shooting the ball this UAAP Season 84, Pacquiao’s drastic move will surely even more elevate the chances of the Taft-based squad punching their ticket into the Final Four.
Pacquiao is no stranger to the esteemed sport of basketball. In 2014, he was drafted 11th by the Kia Picanto in the PBA Rookie Draft. Suiting up as a playing coach, he averaged 0.78 points, 0.44 rebounds, and 0.22 assists in 5.78 minutes of action throughout nine games. When asked about his most memorable stint in the PBA, the Filipino senator mentions, “Ang pinakamasaya siguro para sa akin is ‘yung naka-nine points ako sa All-Star Game noong 2016. Syempre, napabilang ako sa mga pinakamagagaling sa bansa natin kaya honor siya, you know.”
(The most memorable moment for me was when I scored nine points in the All-Star Game last 2016. I was able to participate alongside the best of the best, which is why it is an honor.)
His undying passion for basketball is what prompted him to forgo the presidential race, despite his shared desire to serve his beloved country. “Talagang gustong-gusto ko ang paglalaro ng basketball. Kasunod ng boxing, ito talaga ang nagpapasaya sa akin,” Pacquiao says. As an avid fan of the sport, Pacquiao founded the semiprofessional Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) in 2018. Establishing the tournament was his way of giving a platform to deserving but underrated athletes across the country. Pacquiao proclaims, “Dapat bigyan natin ng opportunity ang ating mga mamamayan para lalo silang mahasa at masanay.”
(I really love playing basketball. Next to boxing, this is what brings joy to me. We have to give our countrymen opportunities to play basketball so that they continue to improve and to develop.)
He continues that it is crucial that players keep up with the evolution of the game as it continues to bring out the best in them. This is why Pacquiao is eager to see what is in store for him in the collegiate scene. He explains, “Marami tayong magagaling na players sa college, kaya excited na akong makatrabaho ang Green Archers.”
(We have many talented players in college, which makes me excited to start working with the Green Archers.)
Repping the Green-and-White
“Grabe talaga ang De La Salle University. Ever since, alam ko na sila ‘yung best team sa UAAP. I want to make them even better this season,” remarks Pacquiao. He also recalls his favorite moments as a fan of the team, citing Ben Mbala’s alley-oop dunk, Jeron Teng’s game winner, and the multiple championship runs the school has endured. “Paborito ko talaga ang kulay green. Yung Boston Celtics paborito ko, siyempre isama mo na din ang DLSU diyan. Pinaka the best pag green and white ang kulay.”
(My favorite color is really green. The Boston Celtics are one of my favorites, so of course I would include DLSU as one of my favorite teams as well. The colors green and white are really the best.)
The sharpshooting senator’s loyalty to the team colors proves that his love for the Green-and-White is beyond the squad but is for the entire University. Suiting up as the team’s next shooting coach, he exudes passion, “Ibibigay ko ang lahat para sa DLSU. Para sa mga fans na sumusuporta sa amin, para sa‘yo ang laban na to!”
(I will give my all for DLSU. To our loyal fans that support us, this fight is for you!)
As fresh faces enter the DLSU gym for this upcoming UAAP Season, the boxing-hall-of-famer-turned-shooting-coach extraordinaire hopes to incorporate new regimens in the team’s practices. Over the years, the Green Archers have been notorious for struggling to shoot from the perimeter and the freethrow line. To add an offensive weapon for the team, Pacquiao plans to utilize a famous basketball personality.
“Napanood ko kasi yung kay Coach Mavs. Gusto kong maisama yung mga explosive stepback. Sana maging go-to moves natin.”
(I follow Coach Mavs’ videos online. I would love to include his explosive stepback, hopefully, as a go-to move for the Green Archers.)
Apart from adding to the team’s shot-creating repertoire, Pacquiao also expresses his excitement to work with talents like Kurt Lojera, a fellow lefty sharpshooter whom the incoming coach is very fond of.
“Importante kasi ‘pag kaliwete, maganda shooting form mo… kaya tuturuan ko ng form ang players natin. High release, ball sa itaas ng ulo, ‘nako napakahirap masupalpal,” the senator explains.
(It’s important that you have a good shooting form when you’re left handed that’s why I will teach that to the players. High release, ball overhead—it’ll be hard to block.)
A new three-point dawn
With such a swift turnaround from being a 2022 presidential candidate to being the shooting coach for the team from Taft, Pacquiao has to get the team up to speed as quickly as possible. Thus, it can be expected that the team will work hours on end with the new coach in order to achieve peak shooting performance—especially since the team would need to adjust to a unique style of play.
As seen through Pacquiao’s performances in the PBA, he lives and dies by the three-point line. “Kung ako tatanungin sa aking mentality, titira talaga ako ng titira. Sabi nga nila diba, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. God will provide,” he exclaims.
(If you ask me about my mentality, it’s just that I will just keep shooting and shooting. You know what they say, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.)
Fans shouldn’t be surprised if his mentality on the court is passed onto the Green Archers—giving them the green light to launch shots from near half court on almost every possession. A new era is upon the Green Archers, and in the season’s succeeding games, audiences can expect a more bombastic aura from the team.
The DLSU Green Archers are set to battle it out with archrival ADMU Blue Eagles tomorrow, April 2, at 7 pm in the SM Mall of Asia Arena.