After mulling early retirement, Robbie Manalang happy to come up big in MPBL

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There was a time when Robbie Manalang has contemplated on retiring from playing — even at the early stage of his basketball career.

With the future looming uncertain, the Fil-Am discovery pondered the possibility of making a career change.

Things have changed in a month’s time when Manalang received an offer to play for the Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors. The Realtors became a home and he soon turned the MPBL into his own playground. Manalang proved he belongs on Saturday night, when he sizzled for 10 of his team’s last 14 points in the last three minutes.

Manalang is now relishing the opportunity of playing on a big stage right after his failed bid to enter the PBA.

“This is a great opportunity for me. I’m thinking of not playing basketball anymore, but when this opportunity came along, I want to take advantage of it. I’m very grateful for Sta. Lucia and Pasig,” said Manalang.

For Manalang, playing in the MPBL is the next big thing.

“I knew about it, but I was checking If I’m gonna play. I got drafted by Rain or Shine, but wasn’t signed. I wasn’t sure about my career. I was in the D-League for a little while, but I didn’t finish the season. I’m still working on my game, but I wasn’t sure of my opportunity there,” added Manalang.

For now, the MPBL is a career worth taking Manalang.

“As long as I love the game, I’m gonna keep playing,” he added.

His star shone the brightest in their latest win against the Pasay Voyagers, outshining even the resident stars of the squad which includes Jeric Teng and Josan Nimes. Manalang is just more than willing to deliver.

“I felt a cramp in my leg in the third quarter and wasn’t sure If I’ll still be performing in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter is where you win or lose games. I just want to do that for my team,” said Manalang.

“A year ago in the D-League, that was the best basketball I was playing and I was getting ready for the PBA Draft. It’s really good to perform again.”

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