Cebuano Mantilla now a champ with UP
Cebu City, Philippines—Point guard Jaybie Mantilla never got to experience winning a championship during his decorated Cesafi career.
Just months into playing with the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, he now can claim to having one of his own. And he’s hungry for more.
Fresh off playing for the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) and the Cebu Sharks, Mantilla was recruited to join the Maroons to bolster their backcourt.
The decision has since paid off in spades as Mantilla has proven himself worthy, especially down the stretch when he made a crucial free-throw that helped UP bag the 2019 Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Cup championship with a 97-93 win over Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology.
“I’m very happy since this is my first time joining the team abroad and it’s nice to start off with a championship,” said the proud native of Suba-Pasil. “The teams that we faced off against here were very tough teams. I’m just so happy right now and I’m glad I got to repay Coach Bo (Perasol) for the trust he placed in me by making that free throw with just 30 seconds left.
This is UP’s very first BLIA Cup crown after falling short in 2014 and 2015.
Kobe Paras put up a whopping 37 points, 15 of which came in the fourth period, including a slam dunk that gave UP a 94-83 lead with 1:27 to go. Reigning UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie had a double-double performance of 23 points and 20 rebounds.
Mantilla added that the overseas trip helped the team a lot especially when it came to chemistry and familiarization with the plays and system of Perasol.
“This was very important especially with getting to know the plays that are being instructed by Coach Bo. Then the chemistry is coming along. I’m very appreciative of the trust that my teammates have in me,” Mantilla said.
The Maroons are set to travel to Serbia in August for their final training camp before the UAAP season starts. /bmjo
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