UAAP 82: How athletic is Adamson's AP Manlapaz? He once dunked on Kai Sotto

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 12, 2019 05:28 PM
How athletic is AP Manlapaz? He once dunked on Kai Sotto
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

AP Manlapaz is just a rookie, but he already has something that nobody else in Adamson University has.

"Among my players, he's the best athlete e," head coach Franz Pumaren said of his 6-foot-2 wing who has always been known to have elite athleticism. "He just doesn't realize it, but if he will play to his potential, he can really help this team."

Manlapaz did his part just when the Soaring Falcons needed it most, scoring 14 points go along with six rebounds and two assists in their much-needed victory versus National University, Saturday at MOA Arena.

And for his part, he only hopes to continue playing to his potential as the San Marcelino-based squad hopes to build momentum for its playoff push. "Sa tingin ko, tama din naman yung sinasabi ni coach. Kailangan ko talagang maniwala sa sarili ko na kaya kong gawin yung sinasabi nila tsaka yung mga pinapagawa nila sa akin," he said.

After all, it was actually his elite athleticism that put the now 18-year-old on the map in the first place.

Back when in his first year in Manila and rookie season as a Baby Falcon, Manlapaz had for himself a highlight at the expense of Kai Sotto - yes, the Philippines' towering teen.

In a game in the 2017 Pilipinas Chinese Amateur Basketball League, the high-flying swingman spread his wings and then soared to send in a right-handed slam jam over Sotto's head.

Of course, he himself was left speechless at what he was able to do then. "First time ko lang siyang makalaban noon so na-starstruck ako. Sobrang tangkad niya tapos halos hanggang dibdib niya lang ako," he shared.

He then continued, "Bago nung nagawa ko, puro naba-block lahat ng duma-drive sa harap niya. Tapos ayun na, pagbigay sa akin ni Joem [Sabandal], basta tumalon na lang ako tapos naka-dunk na pala ako."

From there, Manlapaz, little by little, became a key cog for the return to relevance of Adamson's Jrs. and then became a promising prospect for the school's Srs. squad.

And now he's making waves, he only hopes to have a highlight just like he had against the Filipino basketball prodigy in the UAAP Srs. "Kasama talaga sa goals ko ngayon na maka-dunk sa Srs. Nung Jrs. nga kasi, nakaka-dunk na naman ako, pero gusto kong dalhin yun sa Srs.," he said.

Not only that, Manlapaz also wants nothing more than to round out his game. "Gusto ko pang i-improve lalo yung shooting ko kasi 'di pa rin ako consistent outside. Yun yung gusto ko talagang i-improve para makatulong sa Adamson," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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