Jett Manuel not willing to let UP career end with a thud
MANILA, Philippines – After leading his UP Fighting Maroons past the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday, October 8, team captain Jett Manuel said that one of his motivations for the game was preventing his UAAP career from ending on a sour note.
UP entered the contest losers of 3 straight and could have fallen to a 1-7 record had Ateneo secured the win. Manuel registered 15 points and 5 boards and hit the two game-sealing free throws in the final seconds to make sure that did not happen.
“Everyone that coach put in from the bench was ready to play. Our mindset was, you know, we can’t be 1-6. Me, personally, it’s my last year and I don’t want to go out leaving my UAAP career with a one-win record. So that really drove me, and I’m happy that the team also responded to that,” Manuel told the media at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The fifth-year standout also said that, before opening the second round against the Blue Eagles, the Fighting Maroons had an internal discussion about giving a better effort and contributions from the entire roster.
“First of all, it’s good to be back here. It was a good team win. Before this game, we gathered together as a team after practice - I think yesterday - and I told the team that it can’t just be two, 3, 4 players that will win the ball game. I believe that the team was better than that also,” he said.
Now at 2-6, UP still has an outside but unlikely chance to make the Final Four. That’s not the team’s focus currently, as the Maroons aim to take things one game at a time, but Manuel still admits that’s one of his aspirations for Season 79.
“Of course, personally, I’m going to say I want to reach that. I’ve always been a type to aim big, but, again, it’s not 100% in our hands, so what we can control is the way we’re going to play for the next few games. If the record will help us, some teams win against the other, then it’s going to happen,” he said.
“For me, personally, and for the team, I just want us to focus on each game at a time. We prepared hard for Ateneo, and now we’re going to look to our next game.” – Rappler.com