PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—Despite a successful collegiate career with University of San Jose-Recoletos and a one-and-done season with University of the Philippines, Jaybie Mantilla failed to accomplish one thing – win a championship.
But on Friday afternoon, Mantilla can finally call himself a champion.
He led Zamboanga Sibugay to an 89-80 victory in overtime against BYB Kapatagan. They sweep the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge Finals at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
The 5-foot-7 floor general made it more special, bagging the Finals MVP. He also had averages of 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals, and 2.5 assists.
“Ang mindset ko lang talaga ay ‘yung championship kasi first time ko ito mag-champion eh. Since college days ko hindi talaga ako naka-champion,” said Mantilla, who dropped 18 points, 11 rebounds, five steals, and three assists in the clincher.
“Itong Finals MVP ko bonus na lang sa akin ito pero at the same time, sobrang pasalamat talaga.”
And to finally win a title – in a pro league at that – the Barangay Suba Sangguniang Kabataan chairman in Cebu City is in cloud nine.
But for Anak Mindanao Warriors head coach Arnold Oliveros, that championship was made possible by Mantilla himself.
“Parang nasa langit ako! Hindi ko talaga inexpect na magiging champion ako kasi yun nga since college days, makaabot man kami ng championship pero hindi pinapalad,” said the 2017 CESAFI MVP.
“Para akong tumama sa lotto talaga kay Jaybie! Jackpot talaga! Siya ‘yung missing piece namin kaya malaking factor talaga siya sa amin,” said Oliveros.
The newly-minted Finals MVP, however, bared that he almost quit basketball when his mother passed away last October.
But his three-month old baby pushed him to become a better version of himself, along with his mom in heaven.
“Sumagi sa isipan ko na ayaw ko na magbasketball kasi nawala ‘yung mama ko eh. Nawalan ako ng inspirasyon,” he said.
“Pero may pumalit naman. ‘Yung baby ko siya talaga ang nagmomotivate sa akin. Araw araw dito sa Pagadian sinesend ng girlfriend ko ‘yung picture ng baby ko. Everyday ako namomotivate.”
As a public servant in his barangay, Mantilla posted on his Facebook account on Friday night, dedicating the crown to all affected by typhoon Odette.
Cebu is one of the provinces gravely affected by the typhoon.
“Dedicate ko ang game namin sa tanan nga na apektohan ng bagyo #BangonCebu,” he posted.