Pacquiao debuts in pro basketball month before title defense

Manny Pacquiao shifted his focus from boxing, making his professional basketball season debut on Sunday. 

JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

MANILA, Philippines — Manny Pacquiao made his professional basketball debut on Sunday, just a month before he is set to defend his WBO welterweight crown.

Pacquiao started Sunday’s game for the newly formed KIA Sorento of the Philippine Basketball Association but played only seven minutes and committed two turnovers in his team’s 80-66 win over the Blackwater Elite at Philippine Arena.

The boxing icon, who joined the pro league team as a player-coach, played in a preseason game earlier this month, finishing with one point and two turnovers after a 10-minute stint.

Pacquiao said after the game he would take a break from his KIA duties to focus on the defense of his WBO welterweight crown on Nov. 22 in Macau against undefeated junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri.

At 5 feet 6 inches (169 centimeters) tall, Pacquiao does not have the typical stature of a basketball player, but is a big fan of the sport.