UP captain Manuel: ‘Only a win can give me a sweet farewell’
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 11, 2016 06:56 PM
SO LONG. Team captain Jett Manuel said he wants nothing more than to wrap up his final season with UP with yet another win.
The University of the Philippines’ dream season was not meant to be.
Following Adamson University’s victory versus University of Sto. Tomas last Wednesday, the cast was completed for the Final Four of the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Having their prayers unanswered, both 5-8 UP and National University will remain on the outside looking into the playoff picture.
As they have said all along, however, that has long been far from the minds of the Fighting Maroons. Talking about their incentive for their last assignment against University of the East on Sunday, coach Bo Perasol said, “Ganun pa rin ang attitude namin. Ang iisipin namin, siyempre, paano mage-end si Jett (Manuel) ng kanyang career sa UP.”
He then continued, “Si Soy (Asilum), si Dave (Moralde), sila yung mga starring dapat dyan e. Mas mabuti kung yung ending ay manalo kami.”
Although a win would no longer mean anything in the grand scheme of things, team captain Jett Manuel said they will still go all out to register State U’s best showing in over a decade. And on a more personal note, of course, he wants to go out with a bang as he said, “The only thing that’s gonna give me that sweet farewell is a win.”
Set to wear the maroon and white for the last time, the graduating guard said he remains proud for what he and his teammates accomplished – even though they fell short in ending UP’s almost two decade-long playoff drought. “My goal from the very beginning was to jumpstart the program somehow by winning more games and getting people interested to come to UP because there’s a future here,” he said.
Check, the Maroons even have a chance to double last year’s win total, and another check, the fans are back and the prospects are interested, Mr. Manuel.
Those accomplishments were more than enough for Manuel to be certain that it was the right call for him to postpone both his engineering board exam and his PBA draft plans. “In order for us to win, a lot of sacrifices had to be made, especially me. But I always knew na it’s not just about me, it’s about the team,” he said.
He then continued, “Every sacrifice that I made for UP was worth it. I’m gonna leave UP so happy na I got to play, I got to stay with me teammates, I got to feel the community support.”
The future looks brighter as it has ever been for UP even with the exit of their 23-year-old team leader with Paul Desiderio more than ready to take over as well as several youngsters showing much promise. “I was never going to say na it’s my last season and I’m gonna give UP a championship. Sadly, I couldn’t do that,” he expressed.
He then continued, “Pero yun nga, yung culture na it takes everyone to win, I’m happy na in leaving, I feel like I’m partly responsible for bringing that.”
Perasol could only agree. “(Pataas) ang direksyon namin talaga. Gusto namin na yung programa ng UP, mas magiging an entity to reckon with,” he said.
He also added, “Kung ngayon, parang ‘di pinapansin, at least, yung program nagkakaroon na ng direksyon.”
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