After a long while, Jett Manuel, the standout from the UP Fighting Maroons made his PBA Debut! Rookie Jett Manuel finally made his pro debut, finishing with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, along with two assists and a rebound, in the 12 minutes and 17 seconds he played.
In the first game of the current season, Manuel was supposed to play but did not push through. The depleted line-up played seven games already with 3-4 standing and Jett Manuel was only a spectator from the sidelines. He was actually the first round pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.
Here’s an article from TieBreakerTimes
Wednesday evening, he set foot on a PBA court for the very first time, as Ginebra took on the Kia Picanto at the Mall of Asia Arena. Manuel went in with 17 seconds left in the third quarter, and from there, played a total of 12 minutes and 18 seconds.
Furthermore, the licensed engineer did not waste the opportunity given to him by head coach Tim Cone, as he finished with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting on top of two assists and a rebound.
“It’s nice to see Jett step out to get his debut and do well,” praised Cone. “We’ve been seeing that in practice what you saw today but as you know, I’m not a guy that throw guys into the fire.
“They have to work their way up the ladder and he’s done a good job of working his way out.
“So everytime you go out and do something like that, as a young player, you build trust as you go out to play in big moments. So, it was a big moment for him this time,” continued the multi-titled strategist.
But elated as he was to finally make his debut, Manuel is simply glad that he and the Gin Kings got the 103-77 victory — their way of bouncing back after absorbing a 78-81 defeat to the NLEX Road Warriors last Saturday.
“I’m just really happy that we got the win. We needed the win and coach has emphasized that we have to treat this game like its’ a playoff game, ’cause it’s a must-win for us. So more than myself, I was just really happy that the team won.
“We’re getting back into it, and I hope this is the start of a better ending for the conference,”said the 25-year-old swingman.
The chance he got was truly a huge boost to his confidence. With that, he hopes that he can have the same exposure in the Barangay’s next assignments against the TNT Katropa, Meralco Bolts, and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“All players want to play. We want to contribute. I’m not here to say that I’m gonna lift the franchise to another level or anything like that. I’m happy where I am, and I’m just learning a lot as much as I can,” the 12th overall pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft shared.
“So I’m hoping that this is the start that Coach Tim trusts me that I can contribute in whatever way.”
However, Manuel knows that minutes aren’t given easily, that he still has to build trust with the coaches and his teammates. But he assured that he will always be ready once his number gets called.
“I haven’t been playing the past few games. And as a player, I just really want to play. But I’m a professional now, so I just have to stay ready — that’s my job — and just follow whatever Coach Tim asks from me,” Manuel said.
“So if he plays me or not, that’s not my decision,” added the former Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas member.
“My job really is to stay ready. Whenever he brings me on, I just have make sure I can produce what he needs me to.”
Asked if he can sum up his debut in one word, Manuel couldn’t find the right term, saying that he’s just happy that, at last, he has played in the pros.
“One word? Damn. I don’t know. It really took a while for me to make it sink in when I was in the locker room. Everything happened so fast. I’m just happy, I was thankful to God,” admitted the six-foot-one guard.
“But I guess I just trusted the process.”