CEU appoints Chico Manabat as new head coach

Chico Manabat will embark upon a new coaching career journey as he will be taking over Centro Escolar University (CEU) as the new head coach of the Scorpions.

/ 9 October 2020

This will be Manabat’s second seniors coaching stint after Grace Cristian College as he takes over the coaching spot from his long-time partner, Jeff Napa.

Prior to handling CEU, the 41-year-old had been the chief tactician of National University (NU) Bullpups where they finished runner-up in UAAP Season 79.

Napa believed that it’s time for his longtime deputy to be in the spotlight after seasons of working in the shadows and recommended him to take over his position. 

Sabi niya sa akin, ‘It’s time na lumabas ka sa pagiging Robin mo. Ni-recommend kita sa mga bosses ng CEU.’ Natuwa naman ako na tinanggap ako ng mga boss sa CEU. Syempre bata pa ako sa situation na ganito, pero matanda na ko sa mga pinagdaanan namin ni coach Jeff,” he said.

The coaching tandem of Manabat and Napa can be traced back to 2011 in NU-Nazareth’s program which has turned into a powerhouse claiming three UAAP juniors titles under their watch.

Their journey as partners continued when Napa headed over Colegio de San Juan Letran and eventually to CEU.

The former Scorpions head coach stepped down after his short tenure due to having too much on his plate being Northport’s assistant coach and NU Bulldogs consultant.

However, according to reports, he is most likely to be elevated as the new coach for NU assuming the position vacated by Goldwin Monteverde. Currently, Napa is serving as the Bulldog’s assistant.

As the new coach for the team, Manabat will enter with a lot of pressure since the former coaching staff headed by Frederick Pumaren and Egay Macaya had led the Scorpions into new heights.

CEU Scorpions was hailed as the champions during the 26th National Capital Region Athletic Association (NCRAA) in its first season topping it with an 11-game sweep during its eliminations.

In addition, the promising team made a semis finish during the Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) in 2019. 

John Necesito, Max Encilla, and Roy Billanes will join Manabat in coaching the Mendiola-based squad led by Franz Diaz, Dave Bernabe, and Jerome Santos.

For now, Manabat will prioritize developing the skills of the young cagers and to recover from the loss of many players including Malick Diouf who will be transferring to the University of the Philippines.

Yung naabutan namin na team, bata talaga. Nakakuha rin naman kami ng player na nahawakan ko na dati like dating Bullpups at Team B namin sa NU na gusto ng break. Wala rin kaming foreign student-athlete din ngayon pero we are working on it,” he said.

Napa has high hopes for his friend and optimistic about the Scorpion’s future under their new coach.

“I strongly believe in coach Chico. I am confident that he can live up to the role that had been given to him. Of course, I am super excited for a man who is not only my best friend, he’s a brother from another mother. I am happy he had leveled up to being a head coach,” said Napa.