By Angelica Montoro
They say that to be a great leader, you must learn how to value your team’s effort and encourage them to be the best version of themselves through your example. As a senior of the UE Red Warriors, Philip Manalang never fails to keep his eyes on the goal and serve as an inspiration to his juniors in pursuing the greater heights of their sport.
Philip is a senior basketball member at the University of the East and for years, he has dedicated his time and effort to the team that molded him into the person that he is today—a responsible leader and determined player. He started playing basketball at the age of ten because of his brother, “Noong nakita ko kasi 'yung kuya ko na varsity player ng school nila, maraming may idol sa kanya sa lugar namin. Nainggit ako then nakita ko na may talent naman pala ako mag-basketball,” he began to share with Chalk. Being inspired with his brother’s talent in basketball made him pursue the same path. He then found his way into becoming one of the top performing basketball players of among his batch.
He started his journey when he graduated high school in the National University. During that part of his life, he started training in the University of Santo Tomas’ basketball team before coach Derrick Pumaren of UE contacted him directly and asked his dad for permission to let him join UE’s basketball team. That turned out to be the best option for him as he recalls, “Komportable ako doon sa UE. Pinaka nae-enjoy ko as a UE player is yung brotherhood namin. Pag may problema ka outside the court, nandiyan sila, mashe-share mo sa kanila.”
One of the friendships that he made is with Alvin Pasaol who he also considers as his brother. Talking about the time when Alvin took a break from UAAP, Philip begins to share, “Sa tagal ng pinagsamahan namin ni Alvin, para na rin kaming magkapatid niyan. Siymepre nung una, bago siya magdecide, nagusap muna kami. Nagpaalam naman siya sakin na hindi na siya maglalaro. Kahit ako nung una, hindi ko alam kung lalaruin ko pa final year ko kasi may misunderstanding sa amin nila coach noon.”
Despite the challenges he encountered, he remains vigilant on keeping the friendships that he created outside the court, saying, “'Pag nasa court ka trabaho mo 'yan, wala munang kai-kaibigan. Pero after noon, dapat hindi mo dadalahin kung may away kayo sa court. 'Yung pagkakaibigan hindi dapat nawawala.”
Marking his last year as a player of the Red Warriors, there’s one thing he wants to be remembered for inside his team, “Yung leadership. Gusto ko, tumatak din sa kanila na winner din ako, kahit na ilang years kaming natatalo."
He continues to keep his head in the game for he believes that despite being an underdog, they never expect to lose. And for the past four years of being a part of UAAP, he did acquire a lot of knowledge with regards to being focused in the face of all the competition pressure.
But when it comes to real life, Philip knows how to work his game just like a true baller. When asked about which type of player he is off-court, he alludes, “Siguro point guard. Kasi 'pag point guard ka, ikaw 'yung extension ng coach sa loob ng court. Para sa akin, ganoon din ako outside ng court kasi kapag nakikipag-usap din ako sa ibang tao, nadadala ko 'yung pagiging 'bridge.'”
Considering that he is now a well-experienced player, he gives out his tips to the young leaders of their respective teams out there. “Siguro pinaka-importante 'yung pakikisama mo [at] approach sa mga teammates mo. Hindi porket leader ka ng team, lagi kang galit, parang bossy ka. Siyempre, kailangan mo rin makibagay. I-treat mo sila na parang kapatid mo sila,” he offers.
Philip was also able to balance his academics and sports through proper time-management and scheduling, “Yung studies ko kasi pang hapon. Yung training namin, may morning at gabi so hindi siya ganun kahirap. Pag basketball, basketball muna. Then after noon, pag studies, studies muna.”
Being down to his last yet definitely not the least gameplay, Philip teases what we can expect from the team’s new imports, “First time ko magka-karoon ng teammate na import sa buong UAAP career ko. Parang excited ako and feeling ko malakas yung team namin kaya sana, makapasok ng final four.” And with that, we're keeping our eyes peeled on Recto's promising Warriors.
Photographed by Miguel Alomajan
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Ryuji Shiomitsu
Grooming by Muriel Vega-Perez and team
Video by Lui Jimenez, Produced by Deiniel Cuvin
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