The NU Bulldogs attained a core piece for the future of their program with their successful recruitment of Ian Jolo Manansala, who confirmed his commitment to Rappler on Friday, August 20.
The 19-year-old Manansala selected NU over other suitors such as De La Salle University and the University of Sto. Tomas.
“I chose NU mainly because it’s a family choice and I think this is where I can show my talent as a player,” Manansala said in an exclusive interview. “And also, because coach Jeff [Napa] told me that I could fit to their system.”
The former La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) Greenie stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 184 pounds. After playing the center and power forward positions in high school, he envisions making the change to small forward in college basketball.
“My relationship with coach Jeff is good and we’re kind of close because we often talk,” Manansala said of the Bulldogs’ new head coach.
“The important thing that I could bring to the team is when I’m being disciplined in everything.”
The Bacoor, Pampanga native says he began joining National U’s online workouts on Thursday and feels he is in the process of establishing good relationships with his new teammates.
Manansala, who was the 2019 Rookie of the Year in the NCAA juniors Season 95, thinks his rebounding prowess can boost the Bulldogs’ bid.
“One of my strengths is rebounding. Hopefully I can bring it in college and I want to improve my dribbling skills and shooting skills,” he said.
Manansala recorded multiple double-digit rebounding performances in his initial season as a Greenie, which made him a viable recruit for interested college programs.
In a contest against San Sebastian on July 2019, Manansala finished with a statline of 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks in a victory for LSGH. A few days later, the Greenies beat San Beda in overtime thanks in part to his 10 points, 9 boards, and 3 blocks.
In a playoff to determine the fourth and final seed of the Final Four, Manansala had 13 points and 8 rebounds as La Salle defeated Arellano. They lost to San Beda in the semis, but he pulled down 13 rebounds in the three-point defeat.
The young standout says he likes to model his game after Troy Rosario, who was part of NU’s UAAP men’s basketball title-winning roster in 2014.
“I think in high school I can compare my game to Troy Rosario because I like to get offensive rebounds and sometimes I can also shoot outside.”
If Manansala’s college career trajectory follows that of Rosario’s, then the Bulldogs just landed a promising blue-chipper.
NU also attained the successful commitments of Reyland Torres and Steve Nash Enriquez for their senior program. – Rappler.com