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Manuel: ‘It’s still a process for us’



The Iskos and Iskas ng bayan have waited for a Men’s Basketball Team that will be competitive in the UAAP tournament for years.

With the return of Jett Manuel, after a three-year hiatus, the hopes of the UP community were raised as he was being pegged as both the go-to guy and vocal leader for the Maroons. Moreover, the winning mentality and leadership on the court is what has been lacking for the Fighting Maroons of years past.

After two straight wins to open the season, the Diliman cagers were sent crashing down after crushing defeats against contenders the National University Bulldogs and, more recently, the Ateneo Blue Eagles. “Siyempre we’re frustrated right now but we still have to be cool. There’s still a lot more games left,” Jett Manuel said about the team’s morale after their loss against Ateneo. For the former UAAP Most Improved Player, he is still optimistic about the team’s chances since this is just the first round of the tournament. “We’re a young team and we still have to keep learning. It’s still a process for us.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Manuel: 'It's still a process for us'

UP Maroon Paul Desiderio shoots over two Ateneo defenders

In all their games, the Fighting Maroons started slow on offense as the team faced huge deficits in the opening quarter. Against the Blue Eagles, the coaching staff of UP tried to bring Manuel off the bench to increase the production of the second unit. The result? A nightmarish 0/7 outing by the Smart Elite ambassador. Manuel, though, is not thinking about his dismal outing. The piling of losses is what’s bothering him right now. “I’m not thinking about that, I’m thinking about the loss more. Could’ve played the same and won, I still would have played the same,” he said with disappointment visible in his face.

“I’m not making any excuses. I have to get back on D personally. UP needs more from me than what I showed. I just have to work harder.”

The Fighting Maroons are currently top three in the league on defense in giving up just 64.5 points per outing. However, the team is dead last in points produced. “We’re playing more together before. Our defense is still there. We’re never gonna let up on our defense but we have to look for a way to look for more offense,” he remarked about the team’s offensive struggles. “We’re always gonna be a team but we’re still in a phase where we are figuring out where the points will come from and yung maturity lang.”

To close the interview, he disclosed that their game against the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Sunday is a must-win game for them to close out the First Round with a 3-4 slate. “Same way we approached our last games but we have to focus on what we want to do. The next game is a must-win for us. We need to work harder.”

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