Jett Manuel withdraws from PBA Draft to focus on UP | Inquirer Sports
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Jett Manuel withdraws from PBA Draft to focus on UP

/ 05:51 PM October 23, 2016
Jett Manuel. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Jett Manuel. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Jett Manuel has shelved his plans to turn pro to help University of the Philippines’ Final Four drive in UAAP Season 79.

The 23-year-old Manuel said it really wasn’t a hard decision to make in choosing between staying with the Fighting Maroons or entering the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft.

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“It was actually easy in the sense that I knew what I wanted,” he said. “I’m always going to look at the opportunities that come my way, but in my heart, I knew that I wanted to finish what I came to do for UP.”

Manuel, who is averaging 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists this season, filed his application for the draft on Friday, but withdrew his papers on Monday, Oct. 17.

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“It came to a point that I was given a choice to either apply for the draft or finish my playing years with UP, and I’m always going to choose UP,” he explained.

“I owe a lot to this school. This school gave me the opportunity to play. I don’t want to leave my team hanging. I don’t want to leave the UP community hanging. I feel like I owe them for this opportunity that I have. It was a no-brainer.”

Manuel admitted he felt a bit disappointed with the way things transpired, but he believes there are still brighter things ahead of him.

“Sayang lang because it was an opportunity. But maybe God has better plans for me. I want to finish out the season, do my best, win my games, and hopefully, do something great for my school,” the 6-foot-2 guard said.

Though his plan to turn professional had to take a backseat, Manuel still has a lot of things  to take care of, specifically his board exams.

“I want to finish my boards. I sacrificed my board exams which I was supposed to take this November for CE (civil engineering), so I’m going to take it in May. That’s what i’m gonna focus on muna,” he said.

Manuel also looks forward for an opportunity with the national team, something which he notes is his ultimate dream.

“Basketball-wise, I’m always going to try to play for the Gilas team,” he said. “It’s been my dream ever since, more than the PBA. If I get the opportunity, why not?”/rga

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