ALTHOUGH the sting of that Game Three defeat has yet to dissipate from Jaybie Mantilla, the University of San Jose-Recoletos do-it-all guard said that his upcoming stint with the Cebu City Sharks in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will soften the blow.
The former Cesafi MVP confirmed that he will be joining the Sharks, finally making his move to the league established by boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao after getting snubbed by the Manila Stars earlier this year. He will soon be flying to Manila to join the team in time for their game against the San Juan Knights on November 10 before the team comes back on November 17 to play the Laguna Heroes here in Cebu.
“I’m happy to be joining the team of Coach Titing (Manalili) who I have played for before. I am grateful for the trust that he has in me. Even during the Cesafi season, he never hesitated to give me advice. I’m also happy to be joining my former USJ-R teammates on that team,” shared Mantilla who will be reunited with former Jaguars Kevin Villafranca, Victor Nunez and Iron Suano.
Mantilla admitted that USJ-R’s loss to the University of the Visayas Green Lancers in the deciding Game Three of the 2018 Cesafi finals still nagged at him. However, the outpouring of support for him and the entire squad has helped him to slowly move past it.
“Honestly, it still hurts but it’s getting better especially with the people supporting the rest of the team,” the Mythical Five guard relayed.
Despite the loss, which denied him a chance of giving USJ-R its first title in the last 25 years, Mantilla is looking forward to the next chapter of his basketball career.
“I’m looking forward to improving, to becoming a more complete and mature player. Getting a chance to play in the MPBL is a chance to enhance my skills and hopefully, get better at the aspects of my game where I am lacking. I am well aware that there’s still a lot that I can be better at,” Mantilla relayed.
Mantilla’s arrival however, creates a logjam at the point guard position, as he joins a backcourt that already has Harold Cincoflores, John Abad, John Lloyd Luz, Joel Lee Yu and Nunez.