UAAP 82: Starter or not, Philip Manalang will be a good soldier for UE

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 29, 2019 04:39 PM
UAAP: Starter or not, Manalang will be a good soldier for UE
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Philip Manalang was University of the East's starting point guard, Sunday at Araneta Coliseum.

The Red Warriors' skipper is now in his fifth and final playing year, but the fact he was in the first five was actually a surprise.

Before this matchup opposite National University, he had only one start to his name and has just posted per game counts of 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.2 minutes.

Even more, Manalang had missed the red and white's last two games due to illness.

Still, in this one, he was ready and raring to fill in for regular starting point guard Jed Mendoza who was not in the venue. "Sundalo lang. Ready lang ako kung ano mang kailangan nila coach na gawin ko, susunod lang ako," he said.

He then continued, "Buti maganda ang start ko. Hanggang matapos ang laro, nakapag-contribute ako."

Indeed, the now 22-year-old made the most of his return to the first five and wound up with 13 points, seven assists, and four rebounds.

Of course, afterward, he was only congratulated by his teammates for all his contributions. "Yung teammates ko, after the game, sabi, 'Welcome back!' Sabi ko, ''Di naman ako nawala. Nandito lang ako at ready lang ako para sa kanila,'" he said.

Manalang was also quick to point out, though, that he never left behind his post as UE team captain. "Kahit 'di ako ginagamit, lagi lang akong ready. Yung leadership, 'di naman nawawala yun e kasi kahit 'di ako naglalaro, nandun lang ako sa labas ng court na mino-motivate sila," he said.

And whether or not he retains his place in the first five, the 5-foot-8 floor general said he will always go all-out to lead the Recto-based ballers. "Wala akong pakialam kung sino start o kung gamitin ako o hindi, basta manalo yung team namin. Masaya lang ako para sa lahat bilang kapitan ng team na 'to," he said.

Nonetheless, whenever his number will be called, Manalang can rest assured he is as confident as he has ever been in the season. "Ito yung first na matinong game ko this season so iba yung kumpyansang binigay sa akin nito. Sana matuloy-tuloy ko," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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