Ever since he set foot in University of the Philippines three years ago, Jun Manzo made it his home. And just like any other household, the Cebuano guard treated everyone like his family.
So when he saw his brother Bright Akhuetie down on the floor, grimacing in pain, Manzo did not hesitate. He rushed to the nearest Growling Tiger in sight and fouled him right away to stop the clock.
“Akala ko kasi third foul ko lang, so finoul ko kasi nakita ko si Bright na nakahiga sa court kanina,” said the 22-year-old Cebuano, following UP’s heartbreaking 65-68 defeat at the hands of UST, Wednesday.
But the pint-sized floor general was not aware that he had already incurred four personal fouls before this one. With that, Manzo’s attempt to save Akhuetie from the pain marked the end of his UAAP career.
“‘Di ko inexpect na fouled out na pala ako. Parang nanghihinayang ako kasi two minutes na lang e,” shared Manzo, who finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds.
Manzo, however, declared that he would commit the same foul again if given the chance. Because for him, family will always come first.
“’Yun pa rin gagawin ko kasi… Kasi family ko si Bright, so hindi ko hahayaan na may mangyari sa kanya. Gagawin at gagawin ko pa rin ‘yung foul,” he recalled.
“Nalulungkot ako kasi kaunti na lang e, last two minutes na lang e, pero wala na. Ginawa ko pero hindi ko pinagsisisihan ‘yun.”
Still, he cannot thank UP enough for all the love that they have showered on him during the course of his three-year collegiate career. Moreover, just as the Fighting Maroons did when Paul Desiderio departed the team, the young Manzo hopes that the rest of the youngsters can continue the winning tradition they started.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa UP na tinanggap nila ako nung pag-transfer ko. Wala, ginawa namin lahat sa game kanina. Wala naman akong pinagsisisihan, kaya parang umiyak lang ako kasi nakakalungkot kasi ‘di namin naabot ‘yung goal namin na pumasok ng Finals,” expressed Manzo.
“Sana makuha na nila ‘yung chemistry na hinahanap namin ngayon. Hopefully, makuha nila ‘yung kampeonato next season. Malaki ‘yung tiwala ko sa kanila.”
And though his final hurrah with the Fighting Maroons ended prematurely, Manzo is still satisfied with how his collegiate career ended, knowing that he poured everything out for UP.
After all, he did it for his beloved family.