JETT Manuel trained abroad last year and has been dishing out fine performances in the PBA D-League, but has yet to decide whether he would try and contribute to the struggling University of the Philippines side in the UAAP.
The former UAAP Most Improved Player is non-committal on a comeback with the Maroons, who have recently elevated Rey Madrid to head coach after he took over on an interim basis last season. UP started season 76 with Ricky Dandan as main bench tactician.
Manuel, who still has two years of eligibility in the UAAP, had earlier announced that the selection of the next UP coach will be a main factor when he decides on a possible resumption of his college basketball career.
The 21-year-old Manuel has expressed his intention to return to the Maroons after missing last season to train abroad to improve his basketball skills, among other things.
That means Manuel has not played for UP with Madrid as head coach.
Right now, Manuel said playing for UP in the UAAP in the coming season is not on his mind as he is also focused on things outside basketball, particularly his Civil Engineering studies.
“I’m focused on my academics,” said Manuel in a brief chat with Spin.ph after his PBA D-League game with Derulo Accelero on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Mikee Reyes, who left UP last season, is looking to regain his spot on UP’s UAAP squad.
Reyes admitted that a feud with Dandan was the reason he left the squad and the 23-year-old player has recently rejoined the squad. He led the Maroons to victory over University of Santo Tomas in a weekend game in the Fr. Martin Cup.
Madrid, the former Maroons team manager, beat out several candidates for the UP coaching job, including UPIS coach Allan Gregorio and Big Chill mentor Robert Sison.