This is Gian Mamuyac and defense is his calling card

This is Gian Mamuyac and defense is his calling card
PROBLEMS. Gian Mamuyac is emerging as a headache for the likes of Paul Desiderio and J-Jay Alejandro.

Ateneo de Manila University remains unscathed in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament and everybody from Thirdy Ravena to Vince Tolentino and from Matt Nieto to Anton Asistio is contributing.

And still, the Blue Eagles have much more to show the rest of the league.

Slowly but surely, they are doing that with first-year player Gian Mamuyac who is emerging as a headache for the likes of Paul Desiderio and J-Jay Alejandro.

“For me kasi, defense is really my thing so I’m just doing my job. Coming into every game, ang mindset ko, maging aggressive on defense,” he said. “Yung offense, darating na lang yan. Bonus na lang kung maka-shoot or what.”

That much was clear on Wednesday as he was called upon to defend perhaps the best all-around offensive player in the league in Alejandro.

National University’s main man had 16 points in 5-of-11 shooting in the first two quarters before the long limbs of Mamuyac, as well as the muscle mass of Thirdy Ravena, enveloped him.

And so, in the second half, Alejandro only had six points in 2-of-9 shooting. “Thirdy and Gian did a great job on him. You cannot hold him to zero points so six points in the second half was good for us,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.

Still, the 18-year-old said it wasn’t easy trying to stay in front of the King Bulldog. “Sobrang galing talaga ni J-Jay kasi he can hurt you in a lot of ways. He can shoot, he can attack, he can create for his teammates,” he shared.

He then continued, “I just tried my best to stay in front of him and challenge every shot na ite-take niya.”

Of course, it helps that his body and mind alike are ready and raring for his role as Ateneo’s defensive stopper.

Already blessed with long limbs ever since his time terrorizing the high school ranks, Mamuyac is now also bulking up. From his playing weight of 147 lbs as an Eaglet, he is now up to 160 lbs as an Eagle.

And he only hopes to keep getting bigger. “O ha? 13 pounds na yun! Sana, may dagdag pa,” he expressed through chuckles.

The versatile swingman’s maturity was then polished by his one year in Team B. “For me, yung pag-stay ko sa Team B made me more ready for college. Yung pag-Team B ko, I was introduced to college basketball and for me it’s a great thing kasi ang hirap kung isalang na lang ako bigla,” he said.

Now, Ateneo has yet another Blue Eaglet who has transformed into a contributing Blue Eagle.

Gian Mamuyac, take your place alongside Anton Asistio, Aaron Black, Jolo Mendoza, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, and Thirdy Ravena. You have earned it.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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