Jett Manuel had a lot of things in mind last Wednesday.
While he was prepping for the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Game Three tilt against the Magnolia Hotshots over at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, the former King Maroon was also monitoring the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons’ game against the De La Salle Green Archers over at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Man! I’m just really, really, really happy for the whole UP community, for myself and all the players that have been through the program,” shared the 26-year-old engineer.
“It’s something na nag-culminate. Everything just came together finally, this year, this group, special group.”
Manuel was the fire-starter that sparked UP’s resurgence over the last three years. Before he left Diliman, he made sure to put the ‘Fighting’ back in the Maroons.
“Me personally, leaving UP with that goal na I wanted to leave something behind, leave a culture behind and try to start something, which will eventually lead to this. I spoke to Paul [Desiderio], I spoke to Diego [Dario], to Gelo [Vito] this morning, just telling them good luck,” he shared last Wednesday after Ginebra’s 107-103 win over Magnolia.
“I mean, I’m always there for them.”
Though his heart was with the Fighting Maroons, it was not solely for them, as his brother Joaqui was playing for the Green Archers. And so he could not fully celebrate UP’s win, as Joaqui and La Salle’s Final Four fate is still up in the air.
“Nag-tweet nga ako na I didn’t know who to side with kasi if I side with UP, my mom naman will get mad at me. So I didn’t wanna disappoint my mom. I’m one of most supportive brothers in the world to my brother,” Manuel admitted.
“But of course, like I said, fifty-fifty yung puso ko eh. I’m Maroon-blooded as well as a Manuel. So at the expense of my brother, yeah, I feel sad, but I’m more happy now that finally, finally.”
Still, it ended up being a glorious Wednesday for Manuel, as he picked up double victories.
But the fight is not yet over for the Fighting Maroons. And Manuel, as the captain that he is, wants UP to not settle for this feat.
“They have a chance to win a championship. So reaching a Final Four is great, but you know, if I were the.. Yung pagiging team captain ko lalabas, sasabihin ko sa kanila don’t be content,” he declared.
“We achieved something, but that’s not the goal.”