This time, it was the Maroons who carried Manuel to a win

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 07, 2016 09:03 PM
This time, it was the Maroons who carried Manuel to a win
ALL FOR YOU. Jett Manuel had gotten used to putting UP on his back, but as they scored a rare fifth win, it was the other way around.

After being recognized as the Player of the Week, Jett Manuel had for himself an off-game.

The Fighting Maroons’ team captain only had eight points and muffed on all but two of his 13 attempts in their game against University of Sto. Tomas last Saturday. Usually steady from the stripe, he also just converted half of his six free throws.

This, following a 19-point, five-rebound, two-assist, and two-steal performance in a big-time win against National University that led to him becoming the first Player of the Week hailing from Diliman since the revival of the weekly citation in 2005.

And yet, despite Manuel’s struggles, State U came out on top to still have a fighting chance for the fourth and final playoff berth.

Of course, the graduating guard was quick to thank his teammates for picking him up this time around. As he put it, “I’m just really happy because this wasn’t my best game and everyone stepped up. I just kept telling them on the bench na I’m not playing well, but everyone should step up.”

He then continued, “And everyone stepped up. I think Paul (Desiderio) was the only one in double-digits.”

Indeed, Desiderio was the only UP player in double-digit scoring with 16 points, but had six other teammates contributing at least six points.

The team effort was much to coach Bo Perasol’s delight. “Importante kasi na if we have a program like ours, everybody has to feel that they belong. ‘Di kakayanin ni Paul, ‘di kakayanin ni Jett na silang dalawa lang to carry the cudgels for scoring,” he expressed.

On a more personal level, however, the Maroons’ captain said how his teammates responded, and have always responded, to his leadership is just another proof that this is not the same squad that has only averaged one win in the last nine years. “I’m just really happy that they were there for me. I’ve been there, I’m always there for them and to see them reciprocate, that’s what a team is about,” he expressed.

And while Diliman’s first playoff berth since 1997 remains a long shot, Manuel said he can rest assured that it was under his captainship that everything changed. “I’m personally trying to bring into UP yung spirit of teamwork and culture to win. I’m happy na it’s showing na kasi I saw my teammates step up,” he said.

He then continued, “I feel na they gave me the win because it’s possibly my last two games.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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