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Pacquiao must go through PBA Draft, says Commissioner Salud

Manny Pacquiao is an avid hoops junkie, but does he really want to play pro ball? Ryan Songalia

Manny Pacquiao must go through the PBA Draft if he is dead serious on playing professional ball.

The league on Thursday decided against allowing NLEX, Blackwater, and Kia to make direct hires after a board meeting, leaving the Filipino boxing icon without a choice but to go through the Rookie Draft on August 24 if he is to pursue his plan to play professional ball.

Pacquiao, fresh from a convincing unanimous-decision victory over Timothy Bradley, earlier bared his intention to play for Kia in the automobile company’s debut in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

“He will be a welcome addition to the PBA,” league commissioner Chito Salud said. “But you will have to enter the rookie draft — you have to go through the process.”

If the only eight-division boxing champion still pursues his cage dream, the Sarangani representative will be one of the oldest players to apply for the rookie draft at 35. There will also be no guarantee that he will play for Kia, as he may be selected before that squad gets to make its first draft pick. - Karlo Sacamos, SPIN