Jun Manzo making most of his final stretch with UP: ‘I’m giving it my all’
MANILA, Philippines—Jun Manzo is making sure the end of his collegiate career will be a memorable one.
The transferee from University of Visayas is taking on the mantle of being a closer for University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament and he’s doing it with aplomb.
UP was struggling to finish off National University in the fourth quarter but Manzo gladly stepped up to put the Fighting Maroons in commanding position, scoring nine points in the final frame of their 80-77 win Wednesday.
“I always tell myself that what I have right now won’t happen again the next year,” said Manzo, who is playing in his last elimination round, in Filipino. “I’m giving it my all, for the UP community, for my teammates, and also for myself.”
UP held a 77-70 lead in the final three minutes of the game but failed to find the bucket in that span of time while the Bulldogs found their stroke and cut the Fighting Maroons’ lead to just two.
Manzo then drilled three of his four free throws in the quarter to ice the game, giving UP an 8-4 record to stay at second seed.
“I really don’t think too much in the clutch… and I’m just practicing my free throws so when the situation comes when the other team sends me to the line, I’m confident that I can make my shot,” said Manzo, who has found inspiration from former teammate Paul Desiderio.
Desiderio, who now plays for Blackwater in the PBA, became a UP cult icon when he shouted the now famous line “atin ‘to! (this is ours!)” back in Season 80 that ultimately became the Fighting Maroons’ rallying cry in their silver medal finish in Season 81.
Manzo said that his free throws are his versions of “atin to!” to Desiderio’s clutch triple that gave UP the 74-73 win over University of Santo Tomas in the opening game of Season 80.
“This is my ‘atin to!’ and I really don’t get nervous in the free throw line because I myself worked hard for this,” said Manzo.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.