All eyes may have been on the debuting Kobe Paras on Sunday, but rookie AP Manlapaz also made sure to leave a lasting impression.
The 19-year-old rookie proved that he can be a man among the boys with his fine play for the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in their UAAP Season 82 clash with the UP Fighting Maroons.
Manlapaz tallied 17 points — including six straight points in the extra period — on 60-percent shooting from the field. He also had three rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block in 22 minutes.
The Adamson lifer said that coach Franz Pumaren had no particular instructions for him in OT. The rookie then simply wanted to show what he can bring to the table.
Previously, Manlapaz had only tallied a total of four points in the Soaring Falcons’ first three games of the season.
“Wala namang instruction sa’kin kasi nung last games, wala akong napapakita sa team. Kaya gusto ko talaga bumawi sa game na yun,” the native of San Fernando, Pampanga said.
“Kaya yun parang nagkusa na ‘ko.”
Unfortunately, Manlapaz could not celebrate his breakout performance as all his efforts went in vain. Adamson lost in overtime, 83-84, dropping to 2-2 in the standings.
It was a difficult defeat for the Soaring Falcons. They already had an 18-point lead early and an 82-75 edge with 2:22 left to play, only for it to blow up in the end.
“Nagkulang lang ng puso nung huli,” Manlapaz rued.
“Parang nag-breakdown yung mga veterans namin. Pero sabi ni coach, mahaba pa naman yung season kaya pwede pa kami makabawi.”
Despite the disappointing loss, Manlapaz said that this game will only boost his confidence in the next games.
“Parang malaki yung tiwala nila sa’kin, kaya gusto ko talagang may magpakita ako sa kanila. Ngayon parang nagii-start na ma-boost yung confidence ko sa mga darating pa na games namin.”
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