Remembering Rolly Manlapaz: The iconic voice of the UAAP games

MANILA, Philippines – "Threeeee," a booming voice resonated in the entire arena.

Rolly Manlapaz, one of the most prominent basketball barkers in the country, passed away at 1:10 pm on Thursday, September 27. He was 58.

Manlapaz suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare neurological disease that affects nerve cells controlling voluntary muscle movement. It currently has no cure. 

Last June, Manlapaz was hospitalized during the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, which prompted the organizers to donate the profits of the Ateneo-La Salle and Gilas-EAC games to him and his family. 

Since then, the beloved sports barker never returned to the mic. 

The Ateneo AB Communications graduate was a radio DJ before he started his career as a public address announcer or game barker in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) in 1998. He rose to fame after calling games in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), PBA, UAAP and NCAA. 

The barker has coined several monikers for basketball players during their rookie years like Calvin Abueva's "The Beast," in reference to the Gilas player's physical style of play. 

Manlapaz also christened Niño Canaleta with his current nickname "KG" and former UAAP stars National University's Joseph "The Fly" Lingao-Lingao and Jerome "The Umbrella Man" Tungcul. 

Since the start of UAAP Season 81, many athletes and sports fans noticed the difference in the whole vibe of the games with Manlapaz's absence on the mic. 

Nakaka miss si Rolly Manlapaz — AljunJayMelecio (@AljunJayMelecio) September 9, 2018 

Is it just me or talagang napaka energetic nung coliseum barker ng UAAP.  ang ganda nung move, kung bangitin parang siya pa nalugi. — Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena) September 8, 2018  

Manlapaz is survived by his children Dawn Marie Zsazsa Manlapaz-Lainez, Kevin Bon Jovi, Vincent Miles Pele, Christine Amidala, Patricia Ann, and Luke Anakin. –

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.