With 7:55 left in the third quarter, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons starting playmaker Jun Manzo crashed into the baseline after a layup attempt.
Besides Manzo’s awkward fall, National University Bulldog big man Issa Gaye — who had been trailing behind — accidentally landed on Manzo’s right foot.
He was seen writhing and crying in pain as members of the coaching staff and the medical team rushed to his side.
“Umiyak ako. Sobrang sakit eh, parang walang lakas yung right leg ko,” recalled the 20-year-old floor general, “‘Pag layup ko, paghulog, hindi ko pa naramdaman. Pero pagbagsak ko, dun ko na naramdaman na wala ng lakas yung right leg ko.
“Naramdaman ko yung paa ni Gaye.”
Second-year UP head coach Bo Perasol, together with the rest of the bench and the fans inside the arena, all shared worrisome looks and sighs.
Manzo wasn’t able to come back to the game. He tried to shake it off, as he was seen jogging around the dugout, but the coaching staff decided to not risk him to avoid further damage.
“Nung fourth quarter parang nilalakasan ko na lang loob ko na parang walang nangyari para makapasok ako sa team, kaso respect ko naman desisyon nila coach, pero sayang nga eh,” said Manzo, who had six points before his injury.
Adding salt to the wounds, the Fighting Maroons absorbed their third straight loss against the NU Bulldogs, 70-77, closing their first round campaign with a 3-4 record.
As of writing, his status is still not certain, as he will undergo tests tomorrow to assess the damage. And Gaye was apologetic afterwards.
“I told him I was sorry. I had no intention talaga,” said the 20-year-old Senegalese student-athlete.
“I went to him and told him sorry. He said it was okay naman.”
Manzo hopes that he will be able to fully recover in time for the start of their second round campaign.
“Titignan pa bukas kung ano status ko, i-sca-scan pa bukas eh,” expressed the 20-year-old Cebuano.
“Kaya, kaya. Hopeful na sana [by round two makabalik.]”
And in the end, the floor general from Cebu just wants to pay back all the support they have been getting from the UP community, especially as more and more fans troop to venues to express their support.
“Babawi kami sa second round. Sana tuloy pa rin yung suporta nila kasi nahihiya na kami,” expressed Manzo.
“Dumarami na ng dumarami yung UP fans kaya sana maibalik namin yung suporta nila sa amin.”
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