Tim Cone left with regret as Jett Manuel walks away from Ginebra, PBA
MANILA, Philippines—He may be saddened by Jett Manuel’s departure for a different career, but Ginebra coach Tim Cone lauded the former University of the Philippines for his guts to walk away from the game he has played his whole life.
Cone tabbed Manuel to become part of the potential core that the Gin Kings will ultimately rely upon in the future, but the 12th overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft chose to part ways with the franchise just days before the 2019 season began.
Manuel, a licensed civil engineer, has decided to follow the career path that he had prepared himself for at the country’s no. 1 university.
Cone may have used Manuel sparingly during the Fighting Maroon’s rookie year, but the departure still left a sting on the multi-titled coach’s heart.
“I’m saddened by it all, but man it takes an incredible character to walk away from the game and to do something for your family,” said Cone after the Gin Kings’ practice Friday at Upper Deck. “That’s how he explained to me, his family wants him to get going on a career right away and it’s nice that he has that option.”
“A lot of basketball players get so locked into their playing career that they don’t prepare themselves to do anything else, and the fact that he went to school and he did well in school and got his degree. He has the opportunity to be a top-flight engineer, which he will because he’s a very disciplined kid.”
Despite being a first round pick, Manuel played sparingly for the Gin Kings only appearing in 21 games and putting up totals of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and eight rebounds—a stat line comparable to a day’s work by a starter.
Manuel, though, had to compete with veterans LA Tenorio, Jeff Chan, Solomon Mercado, and even Mark Caguioa in the guard rotation. There’s also Thompson who has blossomed into a star in just his rookie season when he helped lead the Gin Kings to the 2016 Governors’ Cup.
Cone added that he regretted not giving Manuel enough time to show his skills on the PBA competition.
“I think the regret is I didn’t give him enough playing time so that he could really feel good about his career, you get a guy like that, it really makes you sick that you didn’t give him that opportunity,” said Cone. “He’s a great kid and he’s a great representative of the game for us.”
“He came and worked his butt off in practice, the only problem was he had a bunch of veterans in front of him, it was going to take patience. We felt that he was part of the future core.”
Cone added that Manuel would still play on a part-time basis with Mighty Sports in the Dubai International Bball Championship but he also assured his former player that Ginebra is always open for a reunion.
“I told him I left the door open, if he gets bored with the civilian life he can go back to our army and keep battling with us, but that will be on him,” said Cone.
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