DID YOU KNOW? Manilla Santos-Ng almost played for Letran

Mark Escarlote on Jul 27, 2020 05:00 PM
DID YOU KNOW? Manilla Santos-Ng almost played for Letran
(Photo: Josh Albelda)

Manilla Santos-Ng holds legendary status at De La Salle University.

Despite her 5-foot-4 frame, Santos-Ng stood tall among her peers in a volleyball program known for the might of its players’ height as she led the Lady Spikers to its historic first UAAP three-peat.

In her swan song in 2009, Santos-Ng left a winning legacy by powering DLSU to another title.

The school honored the current ChocoMucho Flying Titan’s contribution to DLSU volleyball by retiring her no. 14 jersey, further cementing her status as one of the Lady Spikers’ greats.

But her donning of the green and white almost didn’t happen.

She got an earlier offer to play for another school across Taft Avenue.

“Before nun kasi ang CSB, ‘yung coach kumausap sa akin ng diretso pero di ko masyado binigyan ng attention because it was too early for me to decide,” Santos-Ng shared on Volleyball DNA. “Parang maaga yata niya akong natanong eh. So parang nakalimutan ko siya eventually.”

The Hope Christian School product then tried out for Letran, which was handled by the late Nes Pamilar.

“And then after nun I tried out in Letran under Coach Nes,” she said. “The players were really nice, they’re so friendly, malalakas din sila.”

Just when Santos-Ng was feeling comfortable with the Lady Knights an offer too hard to resist came her way.

“Hindi ako aware na merong nanonood sa akin. Pero naalala ko somebody asked coach Jerry (Yee) to invite me in one of their trainings. ‘Yun ‘yung sa La Salle,” said Santos-Ng.

She immediately grabbed the huge opportunity given to her.

“When I found out na may invitation sa La Salle siyempre hindi na ako nagdalawang-isip,” said Santos-Ng.

It was love at first sight according to Santos-Ng the moment she stepped inside the school’s gym. She felt the Animo spirit.

“Pagpunta ko doon na-love at first sight talaga ako roon sa school kasi compared doon sa high school gym talagang na-amaze ako, napa-wow ako. Sabi ko, ‘Gusto ko maging part ng team na ito,’ she recalled. “So ‘yung confidence level ko medyo parang mataas pero ‘di pa talaga ako sure kung makakapasok ako dun.”

“Nu’ng pagdating ko doon nakita ko ang mga players sina ate Anne Remulla, sila Des Hernandez, sina Ate Em Penetrante and na-intimidate ako. You know why? Obviously they are tall players talaga,” Santos-Ng continued. “Di ako familiar sa kanila, even the school ‘yung background nila I don’t know pa pero I saw some familiar faces na I played against back in high school.”

She admitted that she didn’t make much of an impact during her first year but continued to work on her game. When head coach Ramil De Jesus gave her the much-awaited break the following year, Santos-Ng did not disappoint.

She built her reputation from there as DLSU won three straight championships.

A suspension from the league denied the Lady Spikers a chance to shoot for a four-peat. Santos-Ng skipped Season 70 before returning the following year to lead DLSU back to the throne in her farewell tour of duty.

Looking back, Santos-Ng knew that her heart beats for DLSU the moment she was informed of the school’s invitation.  

“In my heart I decided already na gusto ko talaga sa La Salle,” she said.

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