San Beda, Lyceum pay tribute to barker Rolly Manlapaz


MANILA, Philippines – Philippine sports just lost one of its greatest voices as longtime barker Rolly Manlapaz succumbed to Lou Gehrig's disease on Thursday afternoon, September 27.

Once the news broke of the 58-year-old’s passing, two of the NCAA’s powerhouse teams, the Lyceum Pirates and the San Beda Red Lions, were just getting ready for their respective opponents.

After both squads dispatched their foes for the day, they took the time to share their fondest memories of the legendary barker who was responsible for christening numerous Filipino athletes over the years with their monikers.

Kay Sir Rolly nanggaling yung ‘Baby Beast’ [moniker ko],” said reigning NCAA MVP CJ Perez, who started his career with Calvin “The Beast” Abueva’s San Sebastian Stags before fully blossoming with Lyceum.

It’s an honor na naging part siya ng mga league dito at sobrang happy kami na nabibigyan kami ng moniker dahil sa kanya. Lumalabas yung pangalan namin dahil sa kanya. Sinigaw na lang nya bigla, 'Baby Beast!' Nagulat na lang ako.”

(My ‘Baby Beast’ moniker came from Sir Rolly. It’s an honor that he became part of the leagues here and we’re so happy that he gave us monikers. Our names get famous because of him. He just shouted out one time, 'Baby Beast!' I was just surprised.)

Lyceum’s current rival San Beda also had a lot to say about Manlapaz, who last called for the NCAA two years ago in Season 92.

“The whole team really felt bad about the loss,” said NCAA champion coach Boyet Fernandez. “We will pray for his soul. Hopefully he’ll rest in peace.”

Sayang,” he continued. “Mami-miss namin yung mga sigaw nya rito sa arena, especially if he calls me Teodorico, not Boyet. I’m gonna miss that.”

(He’s a big loss. We’ll miss his loud voice here in the arena, especially if he calls me Teodorico, not Boyet. I’m gonna miss that.)

Nakaka-miss sya kasi nakakapagana maglaro yun eh,” chimed in San Beda’s 50-point man, Robert Bolick. “Kaya ayoko na mag-ganun-ganun (imitates up-and-under layup motions). Dati pag gumaganun ako, siya kaagad yung [sisigaw ng] “dipsy-do!” Di ba? Ganun kaagad yun.

(You’d really miss him because he inspires you to play. That’s why I don’t do up-and-under layups anymore. Before, if I do that, he’d quickly shout out, 'dipsy-do!' Right? It’s instant.)

Bolick, now a graduating superstar in San Beda and a top PBA prospect, also shared that Manlapaz liked to mess with him even when he was just a benchwarmer with the De La Salle Green Archers.

Ngayon, di na ganung kasaya [yung laro],” said the former Green Archer. “Kahit sa UAAP, pag tinawag niya yung pangalan mo, feeling mo nasa NBA ka. Maganda yung feeling pag pumasok ka sa court. Talagang may pinagsamahan kami. Yun nga sa La Salle nung nag-champion kami sa UST [nung 2013], pag nagwa-warm up kami, ako pa rin tinatawag nya. Di ko nga alam, di naman ako naglalaro, ako tinatawag. Nahihiya tuloy ako mag-warm up. Nakaka-miss talaga yun and hopefully, nasa magandang lugar na siya.

(Now, the game is not as fun. Even in the UAAP, when he calls your name, you’d feel as if you’re in the NBA. It’s a great feeling when you enter the court. We really had a bond. In 2013, when I won a championship with La Salle against UST, every time we were warming up he'd call me out on the mic. I don’t know, I didn’t even play then, but he called me. So I started getting embarrassed while warming up. I really miss him and I hope he’s in a better place.)

Those were just three stories out of hundreds more whom Manlapaz has had the pleasure of calling out, and each one of them already spoke volumes on the unique charm he exuded on and off the mic.

Truly, with his loss, local basketball will never be the same. –