Cebuano connection to stand in forefront of UPís fight

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 03, 2017 05:51 PM
Cebuano connection to stand in forefront of UPís fight
DESIDERIO, THE RECRUITER. Once teammates in University of Visayas, Paul Desiderio and Jun Manzo will now be together in representing University of the Philippines.

Paul Desiderio does many, many things for the University of the Philippines.

He’s their team captain, go-to-guy, seasoned veteran, and apparently, recruiter.

As it turns out, the Fighting Maroons’ new starting point guard was signed, sealed, and delivered by Desiderio himself.

“Si Jun, kaibigan ko yan, tapos teammate ko rin since high school,” Desiderio shared, referring to Jun Manzo who will be running the show for State U starting this season.

“Naisip ko kasi last year pa, baka mag-struggle kami pag nag-graduate na si [Henry] Asilum tsaka si Jett [Manuel]. E wala na akong maisip kundi si Jun,” Desiderio continued. “Nag-chat kami tapos sabi niya, gusto niya pumuntang Manila. Sabi ko naman, try niya lang sa UP kasi kahit papaano, nandun naman ako.”

Desiderio was a senior in University of Visayas high school when he first got to play with Manzo who was then a junior.

And from Cebu to Manila, they have loved playing together.

In the end, it was Desiderio who started the process which was then finished by head coach Bo Perasol. “Buti na lang din, dumating na si coach Bo. Pagtapos nun, naging okay na lahat,” he said.

Manzo shared the same story. “Nung una nga, nag-text si Paul na if gusto ko raw mag-Manila, sabihan ko lang siya kasi naghahanap ng player sa UP. Sabi ko naman, sige try ko muna mag-practice. Kung gusto ko, sige. Kung hindi, babalik na lang ako sa UV,” he said.

He then continued, “E pagdating ko naman sa UP, welcome ako tapos si coach Bo pa nandun. Natuwa ako lalo kasi Bisaya rin siya.”

Now, UP has two Cebuanos in its first five – two Cebuanos who are more than capable of leading the team back into the Final Four.

Manzo, a five-foot-nine floor general who sets the plays but who can also shoulder the scoring load, is ready and raring to go. Asked how he is feeling as his UAAP debut nears, he answered, “Feeling excited. Parang ‘di ko alam kung anong gagawin ko, pero iniisip ko na lang na mag-work hard ako everyday para may maitulong ako sa UP.”

Lucky for the first-year player, he will have a good friend who already has his back. “Sobrang blessed kami na magkakalaro ulit kami ngayon. Sinasabi ko lang naman sa kanya, magaling na naman siya at ang kailangan na lang niya, yung mag-guide sa kanya,” Desiderio said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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