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Jun Manzo vows UP will get back at Ateneo


Jun Manzo emerged from one of the SM Mall of Asia Arena locker rooms with a chip on his shoulder.

The Cebuano guard and the rest of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons had just folded to the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in Game One of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament Finals. The disappointment was etched on his face.

His 19 points – on the back of 73-percent shooting from the field alongside four boards and three assists – were all for naught. The Blue Eagles were just too much for the Fighting Maroons, 79-88.

“Hindi ko naman hinahanap yung shots ko, tapos parang pumapasok lang talaga siya. Focus ko lang kasi is defense, ma-stop yung mga three points ni (Anton) Asistio, kaso iba yung gumawa eh,” said Manzo, who also grabbed four boards and dished out three dimes.

“Sayang. Bawi na lang kami next game.”

While UP have made great strides this year as they entered the promised land for the first time in 32 years, Ateneo’s finals experience showed, as the latter locked down the former during crunch time in the final period.

“Early penalty kami (sa fourth quarter). Isang free throw lang yung minintis nila, si Kouame lang ata. Tsaka yun talaga yung nagdala sa kanila sa dulo,” explained the former University of Visayas Green Lancer.

“Team talaga sila hanggang sa dulo. From the start to finish, team talaga sila. Hindi mawawala yun, tsaka yung experience nila sa finals, hindi matatanggal sa kanila yun,” he added.

To make matters worst for the Fighting Maroons, their star center Bright Akhuetie was stretchered off in the third period due to injury. While the likes of Jerson Prado and Gelo Vito tried to hold their own, the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Most Valuable Player’s absence was sorely felt.

#ReadMore  As UAAP career winds down, Kath Arado gets more sentimental with each final matchup

UAAP-81-Finals-ADMU-vs.-UP-Manzo-2220 Jun Manzo vows UP will get back at Ateneo Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

“Siyempre ‘pag wala si Bright kasi sa court, parang hindi namin makukuha yung rebounds. Nakita naman sa stats na marami silang offensive rebounds nung nawala si Bright. Kaya malaking kawalan talaga pag mawala si Bright sa amin,” lamented the 5-foot-9 guard.

With the loss behind them, the 20-year-old Manzo and his teammates need to pick themselves up and force a rubber match against the Blue Eagles. While tonight’s loss is a huge setback, it doesn’t need to be the death sentence for their season. They have proved against the Adamson Soaring Falcons that they’re capable of winning with their backs against the wall.

“Masasabi ko lang yung team namin parang gutom kaya hindi namin papakawalan yung chance na binigay sa amin ng Lord. Next game, babawi talaga kami.”

Moreover, Manzo has proven that he can keep up with the league’s best.

“I couldn’t question the heart of that guy. As you can see in his eyes he wanted to prove something that we are not just a fluke. we can compete with the best,” beamed UP mentor Bo Perasol.

“That he can compete with the best.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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