Cebuano Mantilla on first game with UP: Feels like heaven

By Jonas Rey N. Panerio |July 16,2019 - 07:13 PM

Jaybie Mantilla finally got to don his new uniform as he and the rest of the University of the Philippines ( UP) Fighting Maroons took down the National Sport Taiwan University, 76-61, in the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup University Basketball Tournament 2019 on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in Taipei. | contributed photo

Cebu City, Philippines—As Cebuano guard Jaybie Mantilla put on his white and maroon jersey that bore the words “Unibersidad ng Pilipinas,” excitement washed over the Pasil-native as he finally come to realize that, yes, his dream has finally come true.

The one-time Cesafi MVP finally got to don his new uniform as he and the rest of the University of the Philippines ( UP) Fighting Maroons took down the National Sport Taiwan University, 76-61, in the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup University Basketball Tournament 2019 on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in Taipei.

Mantilla, who was plucked out of the Cebu Sharks to join the Maroons in the UAAP this season, scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his debut game for UP. 

Afterwards, the spunky guard still could not believe that he was now part of the UP squad.

“I feel like I’m in heaven,” said Mantilla. “I still cannot believe that I’m now wearing the UP uniform or even that UP would get me because for the longest time, I was just watching them play on TV. It has always been a dream of mine to play at this level and with this team.”

Mantilla connived with Kobe Paras in a 17-0 blast in the fourth period that turned what was a 59-61 deficit into a commanding lead for the Maroons.

“I’m just happy to be given an opportunity to play collegiate basketball for one last time. All this is really unexpected,” said the former University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) star.

As it is, Mantilla admitted that his integration into the Maroons remains a work in progress.

“I’m still making a lot of adjustments but I am constantly pushing myself to catch up on the system of Coach Bo (Perasol). I’m also thankful to him because he is always helping me. It has not been difficult with all my teammates helping me out as well.”

The Fighting Maroons will next take on Huaqiao University of China on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 3 p.m. /bmjo

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