For Manuel, UP’s fight weighed more than PBA dream

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 22, 2016 09:35 PM
For Manuel, UP’s fight weighed more than PBA dream
HONOR AND EXCELLENCE. Jett Manuel will have to postpone his draft plans to focus on his final tour of duty for UP.

The University of the Philippines, standing at 3-8, are yet to be eliminated in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament especially with fourth-running Adamson University proving inconsistent.

Meaning, for the first time in a long time, the Fighting Maroons actually have a fighting chance at the Final Four.

That has not been lost on Jett Manuel who even quipped, “This is the first time in my career that at this point in the season, I’m still vying for the Final Four.”

And so, State U’s team captain has opted to stay and finish what he started rather than pursue his PBA dream. “I and my manager had ideas that I could still play out the season, pero it came to a point that I was given a choice to either apply for the draft or finish my playing years in UP,” he shared.

He then continued, “And I’m always gonna choose UP. I owe a lot to this school.”

A conflict arose in Manuel’s plans with the upcoming 2016 PBA Draft running right through the middle of the ongoing UAAP Season 79. “Sayang lang. It was an opportunity, but maybe God has better plans for me,” he expressed.

UP management tried to get the collegiate league’s okay for their graduating guard to participate in the rookie selection process while still playing for his alma mater, but unfortunately, their efforts did not bear fruit. “As much as we wanted to put Jett in the draft, he needed to choose whether he skips his remaining games in UAAP or pursue his dream to be a pro this year,” assistant team manager Mel Macasaquit said.

He then continued, “Obviously, he chose UP. He didn’t and doesn’t want to disappoint the community.”

While the hopes of the long-suffering Diliman community is a big burden resting on his shoulders, Manuel said that was exactly what made his decision a no-brainer. As he put it, “It was actually easy in the sense that I knew what I wanted. I’m always gonna look at the opportunities that come my way, but in my heart, I knew that I wanted to finish what I came to do for UP.”

Now that his PBA dream has been postponed, the 23-year-old said that he intends to focus on the Civil Engineering Licensure Exam once the UAAP season is over.

After that, Manuel is looking to join something even bigger than the PBA. “I’m always gonna try to play for Gilas. It’s been my dream ever since, even more than the PBA,” he expressed.

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