RYAN BUENAFE, THREEEEEE!
LAST TWOOOOOO MINUUUUUUTES!
WE ARE GOING INTO OOOOOOOOOVERTIME!
If you have been a mainstay of college basketball for some time now, you probably heard the names above in the Baritone voice of Rolly Manlapaz. Hell, when you play in leagues, you probably imagine him calling out your name after a booming triple to seal the victory for your team.
Sir Rolly was a coliseum barker and the voice of Philippine basketball since the 90s. Originally a radio DJ, he has made the transition from the airwaves to coliseums. He has made the rounds from the PBA to the UAAP and NCAA, where he serves as barker for basketball and volleyball games.This year however, his voice was notably missing since the preseason games.
Sir Rolly was diagnosed with a condition called Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is a rare neurodegenerative condition, meaning it kills the nerves that control your muscles of movement. This will result in difficulty in your daily routine, and the severity of it worsens as the disease progresses, even making breathing harder. This is a familiar disease because of the Ice Bucket challenge some years back, where celebrities poured ice on their bodies for awareness and donation.
The expenses to try and treat ALS are quite hefty. During the Ateneo-La Salle matchup in the Filoil Preseason Tournament, a part of the gate sales were donated to his family to cover a part of his expenses.
Sadly, his condition worsened as the days went by. He passed away on September 27, 2018 at 1:10 in the afternoon.
He was known to be behind the nicknames of players. Ronald Tubid was “The Saint” because he did the sign of the Cross multiple times after making a shot and was used as a model for Pedro Calungsod. Calvin Abueva was dubbed as “The Beast” because of his dominance on the court, chopping up defenders and eating them for merienda. Not only the notable players get nicknames from him. Jerome Tungcul of the NU Bulldogs was named “The Umbrella Man” because he borrowed an umbrella from him one rainy day at the Philsports arena and failed to return it. It was in these small actions that we know that he truly enjoyed his job.
He always had a smile when you met him before or after a game. He was beloved by the spectators not just because of his manner of talking, but also because he was very friendly. You can see him with various alumni after a game, enjoying dinner and a bottle of beer or two.
Despite his illness, he always had a zest for life. Even if he had difficulty moving, he always made it a point to watch the games on television, supporting his beloved Brazil football team at the World Cup, and thanking his well-wishers on social media. On my birthday, he even sent me a greeting, as he always did since we became Facebook friends. These kept him going, as well as those supporting and praying for him.
As a fan of the sport, I always wanted to talk to him personally and perhaps take a picture with him, because he was such a huge part of the sport, someone that the coliseum barkers after him are all aspiring to be. I just missed my chance. But you can rest easy now. You no longer have to suffer from the effects of this cruel disease.
Rest in Peace, sir Rolly Manlapaz. May you continue to call out the names in the great game in the sky.