When the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel made the semifinals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Jett Manuel was teased by the seniors of the Gin Kings, including LA Tenorio.
“Niloloko ako ng mga Ginebra seniors na, ‘Jett, first time mo lang maka-experience ng semis sa buong buhay mo’,” shared the 12th overall pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft.
“So siyempre, masakit and happy at the same time kasi nararating ko na yung ganitong level ng basketball.”
During his collegiate years, Manuel was part of the UP Fighting Maroons, the darlings of the UAAP. Though they struggled to rack up the wins, the licensed engineer has helped turn around the program into the powerhouse that it is today.
But in just his second conference in the big league, Manuel can now call himself a champion.
“I’m a champion! I’m a champion! I’m a champion!,” beamed Manuel after Ginebra’s Game 6 triumph over the San Miguel Beermen, Wednesday evening.
However, the 6-foot-3 swingman averaged just three minutes of game time this conference. But seeing how Scottie Thompson worked his way up from being a bench-warmer to Finals Most Valuable Player has Manuel hungrier to get better.
“So ayun nga, whatever role coach Tim [Cone] gives to me.
“As of now, I have to patient even if it’s on practice team, I just tried to get my teammates better during practice. I am also working on my game personally. So right now, whatever role, nakaupo man ako o naglalaro ako for 48 minutes. I’m gonna give my all to the team,” the rookie shared.
Being part of a fabled franchise, Manuel always knew that he has to be at his best at all times.
“Siyempre. I always aim high. Joining Ginebra, it was never a question that we can. I did whatever I could na lang to help the team. And we’re here now.”