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What ex-Kia coach says on reuniting with Pacquiao

Chris Gavina while calling the shots for the Valenzuela Classic. Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Chris Gavina previously worked with Manny Pacquiao as his deputy in Kia during his coaching days with the Picanto in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The two reunited again in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), but this time with Pacquiao taking a different role as the founder of the league.

Gavina, who now coaches the Valenzuela Classic, has nothing but good words for his former Kia colleague.
He said if not for Pacquiao’s new league, young and old players wouldn’t be given a shot at showcasing their talents and skills. 

“Boss Manny has always been an inspiration to myself as well as everyone else,” said the 38-year-old Filipino-American coach. “So for him to really give back to the community the way he has with this league is tremendous.”

Gavina said the MPBL is a great way of discovering new players who don’t have access to UAAP or NCAA schools. He added that the league also gives another chance to former professional players who can still play competitive basketball. 

“MPBL is showcasing a lot of local and unheralded players who fell to the cracks through their playing careers, they never got to showcase themselves to the PBA level. It’s a great platform to really try to showcase from the grassroots, to show there’s so much talent here in the Philippines,” he said.

Gavina said his transition from PBA to MPBL wasn’t tough.

“With the younger players I think that having dealt with Kia a franchise team, dealing with young players there, the transition wasn’t so hard for me,” he said.

“Everyone here in Team Valenzuela is willing and hungry to learn and really wants to improve and just wants to know and show what our team is capable of doing.”

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