UAAP: Cebu's Desiderio, Manzo, Santillan are brothers for life

Danine Cruz on Nov 16, 2018 08:46 PM
Cebu's Desiderio, Manzo, Santillan are brothers for life
Brothers for life (Photo courtesy of Jio Igual of Archer Pride)

Three former University of Visayas standouts, namely Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, and Santi Santillan, met each other on the UAAP hardcourt for possibly the last time in their collegiate careers Wednesday afternoon.

All three players used to be teammates in the juniors program of UV. Desiderio first made it in Manila as a rookie for UP in 2013. Manzo and Santillan played for the seniors program for the Green Lancers but eventually sought for better opportunities in Manila in 2016.

With the help of Desiderio, Manzo found his way in UP while Santillan donned La Salle's green and white.

Despite representing different UAAP schools, they have shared that they still consider themselves as brothers.

"Dati sa Cebu kami, parang magkakapatid na kami. Nag-uusap kami lagi, hanggang ngayon nag-uusap pa rin kami," Manzo said.

"Syempre kasi sa Cebu pa nun, since Juniors pa kami, mag teammates talaga kami. Mas nauna kami ni Paul naging teammates tapos na-late lang si Manzo ng isang taon," added Santillan.

On Wednesday, the teams represented by the Cebuano brothers went head to head to immediately cement a spot in the Final Four and avoid a possible playoff against the Far Eastern University.

In the end, it was Desiderio and Manzo's squad which secured their spot in that game as UP dominated La Salle in a 97-81 victory. It was also the victory that ended UP's 21-year Final Four drought.

As the final buzzer sounded, Green Archer Santillan, despite hurting from the tough loss, was seen applauding his brothers from the other end.

Instead of hanging his head low, he clapped towards the direction of the Fighting Maroons and eventually hugged Manzo -- the man who he was with the first time they tried out in Manila back in 2016.

"Nakita ko si Manzo, talagang desidido manalo. Pagkatapos ng laro sobrang iyak, umiyak siya sa akin. Niyakap ko siya," Santillan said to ABS-CBN Sports.

"Ang tagal na bago sila nakapasok ng Final Four so sinabihan ko sila Paul, sila Manzo na 'Congratulations, nakapasok kayo," he shared.

That game could possibly be the last time all three of them will share a court in the UAAP. But to Manzo, they should not to be too sentimental about it because after the collegiate ranks, they have the PBA next to conquer.

"For me hindi [dapat ikalungkot]. Dapat abutin namin yung pangarap namin na mag PBA kaming tatlo para tuloy tuloy pa rin yung brotherhood namin," said the second year Fighting Maroon.

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