Manalang, Ahanmisi engage in shootout just like old times
Robbie Manalang knows he can hold a candle to his former Adamson teammate Jerrick Ahanmisi during their three-point shootouts in practice.
But on Monday, their duel meant so much more when they played on opposing sides.
“It felt a little weird because I was with them for the past two years,” said the 24-year-old Manalang, whose team AMA Online Education faced the Ahanmisi-led Akari-Adamson in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
And against his old Falcons running mates, Manalang kept the Titans in the game, uncorking 21 points, on 3-of-8 shooting from three, to go with five rebounds.
Unfortunately for Manalang, Ahanmisi got the better of him not only in their duel but overall with Akari-Adamson winning, 100-89.
Ahanmisi went 7-of-8 from downtown to finish with 26 points with three rebounds and four assists to boot.
“It’s just a little friendly competition,” said Manalang. “We used to do those shootouts before in practice, trying to see who’s the better shooter. I have nothing but respect for Jerrick and I hope he does great things in the future in the UAAP.”
Manalang was also able to test his mettle against his former peers in the PBA D-League stage.
“I’m a competitor. Every time I step on the court, whoever I play, I try to bring my best game. Today, I saw familiar faces and maybe it brought a little extra, but it was all fun. No bad blood. I just tried to enjoy the game,” he said.
Manalang’s stupendous showing was enough for him to garner praise from his old coach Franz Pumaren.
“I’m happy for him and I think he’s really in great shape right now. As you can see, he really played well.”
Personally, though, Manalang believes he still has long ways to go in terms of developing his game as he looks forward on entering the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.
“There’s always stuff to improve on as a player. I’m really obsessed with this. I watch the film, watch the game, and try to see what I can improve on. I can’t wait to work on it, go to practice, and try to get better,” he said.
As for going up against Ahanmisi, Manalang said he’ll be ready for the next time they cross paths again.
“That’s my brother. I have nothing but respect for him,” he said, before vowing redemption the next time the Falcons meet.
“I’ll get him the next time out. I’m still playing and I want to keep on competing against him.”