THREE years is just far too long for any player to be away from the game.
AP Manlapaz learned it the hard way.
But after a tedious recovery process from a knee injury, the 6-foot-4 high-flyer was back on the hardcourt and doing what he does best: playing the game he loves.
Although Manlapaz is still far from peak form, he relished all of his 15 minutes on the floor in Adamson's 85-69 win over Mapua in the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Sunday.
“Masaya po. Sobrang excited ko bago pa lang mag-start yung game," he shared after tallying eight points, two rebounds, and two assists in his comeback game.
Coach Nash Racela said this first game for Manlapaz was really just to shake off the cobwebs as the Soaring Falcons whip the sophomore forward back to form.
"He’s not yet really in good shape. We just wanted to see him play and get the feel of the floor, so today was okay," he said.
"Si AP, alam niya na kailangan niya alagaan yung katawan niya because he won’t be present if he’s always injured. I think it is something that he’s been working on in the last couple of months, kaya ngayon, nakita niyo na naglaro na siya."
Manlapaz understands that it's still going to be a long process for him, saying, "Malayo pa po, siguro mga 50 percent pa lang talaga ako ngayon. Sinubukan lang talaga ako nila coach ngayon kasi medyo kinakalawang na."
But as long as he keeps doing the work, for sure Manlapaz be back to his A-game in no time.
And getting this first game under his belt is just step one.
"Hinahanap talaga ng katawan yung laro," he said. "Pero masaya talaga ako na nakabalik na ako sa laro after almost three years na nawala."