November 15, 2017

Jett Manuel : It's really about belief

By Jett Manuel

So this is how it went down. You know the Eminem song? "His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy..." From the 6th pick onwards, I was "losing myself". See what I did there?

Lets back up a little.

As timely as this is - writing for the PBA version of the player's tribune - I can't help but remember a few months before the draft. I got to read an article from a guy named Bronson Koenig. Don't know him? Look him up. I've always had a soft spot for underdogs in the basketball scene. I wonder why?

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So basically, he contributed an article making his case for last year's NBA draft. The first version of his case read only a few words - which I thought about making my case too.

"Dear NBA GM's

I'm the best shooter in this year's NBA Draft.

Bronson Koenig."

When I read that, it just stuck. From then on, that was my mentality. Everyday when I was working out, preparing for the draft, I was telling everybody and myself, that I was the best shooter in this year's PBA Draft. Period.
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It didn't matter to me what other people thought, but as a player, and all the ball players know this, you always gotta have a certain amount of belief in yourself. I know there's a fine line between self confidence and arrogance, but I just felt that if that was what I believed in, then I have to back it up with the work I put in.

After my last UAAP season, I was out of the competitive basketball scene for some time. I chose to miss D-League to focus on my individual skills and my body. My whole plan coming in was to get as ready as I possibly could, and show up big time in the draft combine.

Then the Gilas opportunity came. I was called in for a few practices with no promises. I came in, and I was ready.

I always believed that I could play at a certain level. At that point I really felt like I put in so much work that I had to make the most out of the opportunity that was given to me by Coach Chot and the Chooks to Go Program. Going to China and competing against the best, with the best, coached by the best, really changed how I perceived basketball. Without going into the details, I just came out of that experience a better player.

My draft stock rose and I was projected now to be part of the first round of the draft. Of course nothing is ever guaranteed with the PBA Draft and the predictions that come along with it. But honestly, it took me a while for it to sink in.

All that hard work, and timing, and luck, and more hard work. It really got me to this point.

I guess that was really what I took out of this whole journey to the PBA. It's really about belief. It can really play a powerful role in whatever you do in life. I feel like whatever belief you have in yourself. Or in God. Or in a certain process. It leads you to the work you're willing to put in to make that belief a reality.

Becoming the first professional engineer in the PBA, whatever meaning this has on people. I just hope can put things into perspective for anyone, especially for student-athletes. That a crazy amount of belief can bring out the best in both situations.

"Dear PBA GM's

I'm the best shooter in this year's PBA Draft.

Engr. Jett Manuel
#NSD "