One of the craftiest guards in the amateur ranks, Jett Manuel has tossed his hat in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft pool.
The 24-year-old submitted his application on Wednesday, joining what appears to be one of the most loaded rookie classes in years.
“I just felt that it was the right time,” said Manuel. “I finished and accomplished all I could for UP in the UAAP, I got my civil engineering license. I spoke to my parents, trainer, and my manager Mel Macasaquit and all of us are aligned that this is the right move for my basketball career.”
Manuel had a rousing end to his collegiate career as he averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in his senior year in UAAP Season 79, while also helping to lay out the foundation for the resurgent Fighting Maroons.
Though he remained inactive for the past year due to prepare for May 2017 Board Exams for engineers, which he also passed, he has kept himself fit and even earned a spot with Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou, China, where he averaged 6.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 18.8 minutes of play.
But Manuel acknowledges that the PBA is a whole different beast and he’d like to test his mettle against some of the country’s finest ballers.
“Personally, it’s been a goal of mine ever since to see how far I can go with regards to basketball and the PBA. I’ve been training and preparing for this since the beginning of the year. I got to expose myself and measure myself on the international level with Chooks-to-Go and I just felt that I was ready and it was time,” he said.
The 6-foot-2 scorer seamlessly blended into coach Chot Reyes’ system with Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas, where he thrived as one of the team’s superb combo guards in the continental club championship.
“Aside from my shooting, I like playing defense and fitting into a system. I was never the type of player to just get the ball and go freelance. I’ve always preferred fitting into a system of a coach, I think that’s why I enjoyed playing for coach Chot with the limited time that I had,” he said.
Aside from Manuel, Fil-German forward Christian Standhardinger, Ateneo ace Kiefer Ravena, La Salle stud Jeron Teng, and FEU bruiser Raymar Jose have also declared their intentions to join the draft.