JETT Manuel walked away from competitive basketball for a while to focus on his preparations for the engineering board exams.
But after achieving his goal to be a licensed civil engineer, Manuel returned to basketball, eyeing to realize his PBA dream.
As part of the Philippine team in the 2017 Fiba Asia Champions Cup, Manuel had a decent performance with averages of 6.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 18.8 minutes of play under coach Chot Reyes - not bad for someone who had been out of the game for around seven months.
His solid showing gave the former University of the Philippines standout all the confidence he needed to join the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, a batch that already features top prospects like Christian Standhardinger, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, Raymar Jose, and Jason Perkins, among others.
He submitted his application on Wednesday, day before the deadline set by the league.
"I just felt that it was the right time. I finished and accomplished all I could for UP in the UAAP, I got my civil engineering license," he said.
"I spoke to my parents and trainer and manager and all of us are aligned that this is the right move for my basketball career," Manuel added. "Also personally, it's been a goal of mine ever since to see how far I can go with regards to basketball and the PBA."
While he's confident he's ready to jump to the pros, Manuel said he has to be comfortable transitioning from combo guard to a playmaker first.
"I need to work more on my ability to work with the ball, to be more comfortable bringing the ball down, and setting up plays," said the former UP gunner, who also skipped the 2017 PBA D-League season.
"I want to make a great transition to the point guard position to be able to play both guard positions flawlessly."
The Draft is on October 29 at the Robinson's Place Ermita.