Adamson rookie Rob Manalang may not be a lights-out shooter like fellow newbie Jerrick Ahanmisi, but the new Falcon point guard proved he won’t back down from the giants of UAAP, making an early statement in their season opening win.
Manalang had the best all around performance in the Falcons’ 104-84 dumping of UP as the playmaker scattered 16 points and dished out 9 assists in their 104-85 takedown of UP at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I don’t think anyone was shocked because they know coach Franz (Pumaren) is a great coach. I guess they’ll be looking out for us a little bit more. All we have to do is get back to the practice and get ready for the next opponent,” he said.
“We’ll get better each and every game because we’re a young team, we’re very hungry, but there’s always improvement. There’s little tweaks that we could do to become a better team.”
Manalang lauded the Adamson coaching staff for guiding the team to an impressive UAAP Season 79 debut, where they shot 66% from the field and 68.42% from beyond the arc.
“The coach is doing a great job with me becoming a point guard and being a leader out there,” he said. “They really coach me in practice, make sure that I’m putting the guys in the right position, the right spot so they can be successful.”
Just last year, Manalang was still in California, trying to land a shot at playing in the Philippines. Luckily for Adamson, they were the first to pick him up.
“I was back home in California, and I wanted to play here in the Philippines so I sent out a highlight tape to all the schools and Adamson was the first one to contact me so I stuck with Adamson,” he explained.
So far, Manalang is enjoying the physicality of Philippine basketball showing no signs of retreat in his first game in the UAAP.
“It’s very physical out here, it’s very fun. I like it. I like the atmosphere.” — By John Chester Fajardo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @_chesterfajardo