That game-winner wasn’t the first for Manzo and Desiderio

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 10, 2017 09:10 PM
That game-winner wasn’t the first for Manzo and Desiderio
PARTNERS-IN-CRIME. Jun Manzo has had many game-winning assists leading to game-winning shots for Paul Desiderio.

Bo Perasol plotted out the last play of the game for University of the Philippines on Sunday.

Still, it was the Fighting Maroons themselves who had to execute it.

They did just that, even reminding each other what to do right before the ball had to be inbounded – especially the passer and the shooter.

“Nag-usap pa kami pagkatapos ng timeout, sabi ko, ‘Dong, para sayo ‘to kasi ikaw talaga hahanapin ko,’” point guard Jun Manzo said. “Ayun, sabi niya, ‘Sige dong. Ibigay mo sakin yung bola, isu-shoot ko talaga ‘to.’ Kumpyansa kami pareho na maipapasok niya yung bola.”

And so, Manzo got the inbound and found Paul Desiderio who wasted no time in rising over the outstretched arms of Zach Huang and buried the bucket that would prove to be the difference for their squad.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Manzo and Desiderio had to come through in the clutch.

The two Cebuanos were teammates for University of Visayas high school before re-uniting in State U.

And even back then, Manzo said it was him who always set up Desiderio for the big shot. “Siya talaga yung hahanapin ko kung may ganung crucial. Maraming beses na siyang tumitira sa crucial kaya ibibigay ko talaga sa kanya yun,” he shared.

Asked how many game-winning plays they have hooked up on, he answered “Mula high school? ‘Di ko na mabilang e. Maraming beses na talaga.”

And each and every time, the playmaker said he has no doubt his running mate makes good on his pass. “100 percent talaga kumpyansa ko na mapapasok ni Paul yung pasa ko. Buong-buo kasi yung look kung tinitira niya yung crucial e,” he said.

For himself, Manzo said he knows full well he needs to work on his own shot. “Sabi nga ni coach Bo, kailangan ko pang ayusin yung decision-making ko pati outside shooting ko rin. Kailangan kong i-practice pa pareho para lalong may maitulong ako sa team,” he said.

He wound up with six points on 3-of-14 shooting to go along with three assists, one rebound, and one steal in his debut.

The good news is that head coach Bo Perasol believes his rookie will only improve. “I think he is only going to be better as the season progresses. He has what it takes to really lead the team,” he said.

The even better news is that Manzo has already pushed the rookie jitters out of the way. “Sa first, oo, kinakabahan pa, pero nung naglalaro ako, naging okay na. Parang sa Cebu pa rin pala yung ganito,” he expressed.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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