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Tiebreaker Times


Allen Ricardo, Titing Manalili all praises for former colleague Joph Cleopas

Although their battle on the hardwood over the past two weeks was as intense as any Finals match, Letran head coach Allen Ricardo and Finals MVP Titing Manalili have nothing but love for Perpetual’s Joph Cleopas.

The first-year Junior Altas’ tactician both worked with Ricardo back in the UST boys’ squad and coached Manalili back in Cebu, giving him opportunities to play in leagues despite the age gap of Celopas’ players in comparison to Manalili.

“Unang una, mahaba rin kwento naming dalawa ni Coach Joph, malaki rin ang naitulong niya sa akin. Siguro isa rin siya sa mga rason kung bakit ako napunta rito. Malaki ang pagpapasalamat ko sa kanya,” said Manalili.

“Coach, pasensya na po, business lang, trabaho lang.”

He hopes to be under the tutelage of Cleopas someday and to train with him when the time comes for them to reunite in any form.

Meanwhile, Ricardo could not help but be sentimental, looking back at the time when they were in the UAAP.NCAA-99-Finals-Game-3-UPHSD-vs-CSJL-Allen-Ricardo Allen Ricardo, Titing Manalili all praises for former colleague Joph Cleopas Basketball CSJL NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“Magkasama kami ni Coach Joph sa UST, he was our strength and conditioning, at ako ‘yung assistant ni Bonnie Garcia, so nagka-trabaho rin kami,” said the back-to-back Coach of the Year.

“It was a great competition between us, without Perpetual, hindi talaga mate-test ‘yung character ng team namin.”

For Cleopas, it’s a bittersweet reunion after falling short in their Cinderella run to the Finals to some of his closest colleagues.

“It’s mixed emotions na kalaban ko [si Titing], player ko noon, kalaban ko ngayon, pangarap ko ay pangarap din niya. Pero I’m so proud of him, and ganun lang talaga ang basketball,” Celopas said in reply to Manalili and Ricardo.

#ReadMore  Terrific 12 stint with iECO boosts PBA Draft '18 hopefuls stock

Having seen the Squires program first hand, Cleopas is now plotting on making his like theirs.

Written By

Luis Licas is a sportswriter from the Philippines. He is currently taking up AB Communication at the Ateneo de Manila University. He writes for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covers basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, and other collegiate sports. He also competed in the UAAP for the school's track and field team.

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