Jett Manuel proud of his boys as UP finally makes UAAP Final Four

Philip Matel on Nov 15, 2018 04:00 PM
Jett Manuel proud of his boys as UP finally makes Final Four
Despite getting a DNP, Jett Manuel came home a very happy man. (FILE PHOTO)

Although not being able to personally bring the UP Fighting Maroons to the UAAP Final Four, Jett Manuel was just as happy as he learned of his team's feat.

The boys from Diliman have made the postseason for the very first time since 1997, when they were led by the late Bryan Gahol, Joseph "Ogie" Gumatay, and Paolo Mendoza. 

Since then, the squad has experienced heartbreak for the next two decades, including a few winless seasons.

Manuel, who donned the maroon and white from 2010-16 was not spared from UP's mediocrity, compiling an overall 10-60 record in his five-year playing career, including two 0-14 seasons.

The former team captain admitted that he was following the game while his team, Ginebra, was at shootaround at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, trying to keep their season alive, facing archrivals Magnolia in Game 4 of the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals.

"Well, I was secretly following the game throughout my pre-game preparation. Di nga ako nag-pre-game shooting para mapanood ko yung game," Manuel shared.

UP was already up by 23 when the opening jump took place for Game 3, so Manuel had a good feeling his alma mater had made it and never knew the actual final results until much later.

Despite not leaving the bench the entirety of the game, Manuel went home a happy man as the Fighting Maroons downed the DLSU Green Archers, 97-81, while Ginebra forced a Game 4, 107-103.

"I’m sad na I wasn’t there in person, but at least I got the win here today."

But before some of his former teammates, now the veterans of the squad entered the hardwood, Manuel relayed a good luck message for the team, who were playing at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"I spoke to Paul [Desiderio], I spoke to Diego [Dario], to Gelo [Vito] this morning, just telling them good luck, and yung usual ano, I mean, I’m always there for them. I’m just really happy for them. Yun lang talaga."

The licensed engineer also shared how he expected that one day his teammates will bear the fruit of his squad's labor, an accomplishment the UP community has eagerly waited for a very long time.

"Me personally, leaving UP with that goal na I wanted to leave something behind, leave a culture behind and try to start something, which will eventually lead to this."

However, Manuel felt mixed emotions that UP's victory came at the expense of the Green Archers, where his younger brother, Joaqui plays for as a rookie.

"...50-50 yung puso ko eh. I’m Maroon-blooded as well as a Manuel. So at the expense of my brother, yeah, I feel sad, but I’m more happy now that finally, finally [UP made it]."


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