Philippine basketball

NCAA juniors champ, Finals MVP Manalili basks on day full of wins

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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NCAA juniors champ, Finals MVP Manalili basks on day full of wins

BIG WINNER. Jonathan Manalili celebrates winning the Finals MVP and the NCAA juniors basketball title with the Letran Squires.


Finals MVP Jonathan Manalili helps power Letran to the NCAA juniors basketball championship, then scores another winning romp in the NBTC All-Star just a few hours later

MANILA, Philippines – Jonathan ‘Titing’ Manalili is a certified winner. 

Few hours removed from leading the Letran Squires to their second straight NCAA juniors basketball championship, Manalili showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, March 23, and emerged once more a winner after his Team Hustle took down Team Heart, 114-106, in the 2024 NBTC All-Star.

“I’m so happy about today. I’m excited about the victory party with Letran,” said Manalili, who won NCAA Finals MVP earlier in the day after dropping 19 points, 5 assists, and 6 steals in the Squires’ Game 3 win versus the Perpetual Help Junior Altas.

“Even if I am tired, I still came here because I wanted to play with [La Salle Zobel’s Kieffer Alas],” Manalili said.

Alas, the NBTC’s second-ranked player and Team Hustle’s captain, picked Manalili in the All-Star game draft last week.

“I’m happy with the experience of playing with other All-Stars in the country,” Manalili added. 

Letran’s Manalili played with Finals foes Amiel Acido and Jhames Daep in Team Hustle while other Perpetual guard Mark Gojo Cruz suited up for Team Heart. 

“I’m thankful for them because I leveled up when playing against them,” Manalili said of the Perpetual players.

Manalili also had a fun moment in the All-Star festivities, playing against fellow Squire George Diamante, with the latter forcing a turnover in a one-on-one affair in front of the Letran coaching staff, which called the shots for Team Heart. 

“It was fun playing against Diamante. I wanted to face him to know what I can do against him,” Manalili said.

Manalili finished the game with 11 points in about 11 minutes of playing time. 

Manalili also played against Team Heart’s Andy Gemao, who spearheaded Letran’s championship run last year. –

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