Removed from the UST lineup, Paul Manalang, former point guard and team captain of the UST Growling Tigers, will join the Manila Stars in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

This move marks his transition to professional basketball after three full UAAP seasons with UST. He had one year of eligibility remaining.

Manalang’s career as a Growling Tiger was not the most glamorous, as he played for teams that struggled, with three different head coaches in as many seasons.

The National University product arrived at UST in 2019 but only had the opportunity to compete in the UAAP in 2022 due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the training controversy in Sorsogon that affected UST.

His best individual season was in his rookie year in Season 84, where he averaged 7.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds for the UST team under Jinino Manansala, which finished with a 3-11 record.

Following a coaching change in Season 85, Manalang’s performance dipped, averaging 4.53 points, 2.69 rebounds and 2.84 assists for the UST team under Bal David, which had a 1-13 record.

In Season 86, under Pido Jarencio, he averaged 3.64 points, 2.64 rebounds and 2.71 assists.

In the Manila Stars, coached by Gabby Severino, Manalang will reunite with his former UST teammate Ira Bataller and join a roster that also includes Greg Slaughter, Carl Bryan Cruz, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, James Sena, Pao Javelona, Mike Tolomia, Didat Hanapi, DJ Mitchell, James Tempra and more.

In the previous MPBL season, the Stars finished with a 4-32 record.