UAAP: Mamuyac says his development a testament to Ateneo's program

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2022 11:31 AM

Ateneo captain Gian Mamuyac (5) puts up a shot against the De La Salle Green Archers in their UAAP Season 84 second round game. UAAP Media
Ateneo captain Gian Mamuyac (5) puts up a shot against the De La Salle Green Archers in their UAAP Season 84 second round game. UAAP Media

MANILA, Philippines -- Gian Mamuyac gained a reputation as a lockdown defender before he even played a single game for the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP seniors.

In 2016, as a 17-year-old, he went viral for blocking Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry in an Under Armour camp in Taiwan. At the time, he was still in Ateneo's Team B; he would not make his debut for the Blue Eagles until the next year.

Six years and three UAAP championships later, Mamuyac is now the team captain of the Blue Eagles, and has shown that there is much more to his game than his defensive tenacity. He remains among the best perimeter defenders in the league, and in Season 84 he averages 1.38 steals per game.

But it is his work on the other end of the floor that has gotten people's attention. Never known as a scorer, Mamuyac is putting up 9.75 points on nearly 43% shooting in just 17 minutes per game. In a 94-72 rout of University of the East in the first round, he put up a career-best 21 points, making four of his seven attempts from long distance.

He ended the first round shooting 44% from long distance -- the top mark in the league. After eight games, Mamuyac has already made 12 three pointers. In Season 82, he went 6-of-26 from long distance for the entire season.

"I think it just shows how great this program is, and how great this program develops its players," Mamuyac said of his progress as a scorer. 

"I just wanna give credit to the coaching staff. Not only do they give me unlimited confidence, but also they stay in the gym with us, and work with us," he continued. "So, as much as I wanna get all the credit, hindi pwede, kasi the coaching staff did their part."

"I wouldn't be shooting this well, or I wouldn't be the kind of player I am without them."

While Mamuyac deflected credit for his improvement, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin stressed that the strides made by "Mamu" are a result of the work that he has put in over the years.

In 2017, Baldwin said that Mamuyac has "a huge future ahead of him," while stressing that there are areas of improvement -- notably, his ball-handling and shooting. 

"Certainly, evolution is a good word to use in reference to Mamu, in many respects," Baldwin now says. "Mamu's always been effective as a defensive player. You develop a reputation for that."

"But he's a professional young man, he doesn't just rest on the fact that he's a defensive player. His ball-handling has improved, his passing has improved, and obviously his shooting has improved. And it's improved because he's worked at it," the coach stressed.

"He's just another good example in our program of a guy that strives to be a complete basketball player."

Defense remains Mamuyac's primary calling card, and in Season 84 he's been tasked to anchor the perimeter while big man Ange Kouame protects the paint for the Blue Eagles. But he has also shown no hesitation on offense, and is proving that he can score at all three levels.

Baldwin is particularly proud of Mamuyac's mid-range game.

"He's a reliable shooter, so we're very confident when we can find him, and I know the point guards feel like if they can find Mamu, it's a high-percentage shot for us," said the coach.

"But I think also, the other thing that maybe people don't recognize is his midrange game, his game off the bounce. He's really improved, and again, it's just a product of the work that he's done," he added.

Mamuyac and the Blue Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday against the UE Red Warriors.

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