ROBBIE Manalang is slowly proving he can hang with the big boys in a loaded Marinerong Pilipino-TIP squad in the Foundation after taking on the role of go-to guy for AMA Online Education in the Aspirants’ Cup.
“The kid has a big heart. And he's not all about heart only, he's also using his mind,” remarked coach Koy Banal of Manalang. “The belief is there already. He can play the highest level in any given day.”
The former Adamson playmaker is thankful to be able to work with Trevis Jackson, making the transition to the Engineers a smooth one.
“Trev's my brother. I never really got the chance to play with him until this conference and I'm so happy,” he said.
The Jackson-Manalang combo has done wonders for Marinerong Pilipino-TIP.
The 25-year-old Manalang is also grateful to Banal and the rest of the Engineers’ coaching staff as he hones his craft ahead of the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.
“I'm learning to be more poised under pressure. In college, the games are more of fast-paced, but here, I've got to use my mind and brain to make the right place," Manalang said. “I’m also happy that the whole coaching staff is hands-on. I'm definitely blessed to be part of this team.”
But he says focus now remains with Marinerong Pilipino-TIP as he and Jackson hope to lead the team to the promised land.
“We got each other's backs while trying our very best to lead this team to the playoffs,” he said.
Banal, meanwhile, hopes that the duo’s energy and work ethic would have a bigger effect on the rest of the Engineers.
“I hope the kind of brotherhood and camaraderie that they have will rub-off to everyone,” he said.
WIth Kate Reyes