Jingco’s basketball talent carries team
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Everyday after school, and during most days in the summer, one can find junior Manny Jingco playing basketball. Whether it is at a local gym, the high school, or even in his driveway, he is always working to improve all aspects of his game. Basketball is a game he has dedicated hours to, and this is evident when he steps on the court.
“Manny is a player we are able to rely on when it comes to both ends of the court,” head coach Brady Hannigan said. “He works hard, is an athletic defender, and offensively he is able to put the ball in the basket.”
Last year as a sophomore, Jingco averaged 9.5 points per game (PPG) while helping the team achieve a 12-13 overall record. This scoring output was good for third overall on the team, which is highly impressive for a sophomore playing at one of the largest schools in Minnesota. Jingco started this year off with a bang, accounting for 21 of the team’s 60 points in a home loss to Fridley. Through the first four games, he is averaging 19.2 ppg.
A 17 year journey
Many children start playing sports early in their lives. Often times, they try out a multitude of different sports to figure out their interests. For Jingco, this was not the case.
“I’ve played basketball ever since kindergarten,” Jingco said. “Growing up, basketball was one of the only sports I ever played. I focused on it, and if I was bored, I would just shoot some hoops.”
This dedication has shown in his game, and is a huge reason he is constantly improving. Jingo’s love of the game is especially apparent in the way he prepares. This past summer, Jingco lifted weights, played basketball with his dad [a former college basketball player] and played AAU basketball for Fury, a Minnesota based select team, to improve his game.
Strengths as a player
One of Jingco’s biggest assets is his intelligence. As one of the players in charge of bringing the ball up the court, he has to make smart, split-second decisions while running the offense. Jingco’s intelligence has been especially helpful this year, since he has had to learn a new offense and defense because of the head coaching change.
“Manny understands the game of basketball and understands why things are done a certain way,” Hannigan said. “The basketball IQ has allowed for an easy transition on the court.”
Jingco also excels at dribbling and shooting, which are two very important skills for someone playing guard to have. On the other end of the court, Jingo uses his quick hands and instincts to play tenacious defense, often guarding the opposing team’s best player.
“It’s nice to play with another guard that’s really fast, and it’s good to have that in the backcourt so we can handle the ball really well together,” senior captain Lucas Braun said. “He’s also a good shooter, so it’s nice to kick it out to him and know he’s going to make a lot of those shots.”
A rare honor
As a result of all his hard work, Jingco was named a captain of the team this year as a junior. This is very impressive, since a captain spot is usually reserved for seniors.
“Captains are the leaders of our team and Manny’s teammates voted him as captain,” Hannigan said. “This is a great honor to be a junior captain and I am excited to see Manny continue to develop his leadership abilities.”
Jingco was very thankful to be voted a captain, and has become even more determined to improve his game in order to show that he deserves the captainship.
“It’s an honor,” Jingco said. “It’s usually seniors that are captains, so I have to step up a bit more to be a leader and to recognize that I need to help others.”
Jingco’s large skill set hasn’t gone unnoticed. All of his hard work has payed off, and it is not uncommon to see scouts from different colleges attending his AAU or high school games. As a junior, Jingco still has almost two full years of high-school basketball, but he may soon have to begin thinking about where he wants to wants to continue his playing career. “I’d like to play college basketball, and if possible, play in the NBA or overseas,” Jingco said. “But right now, I’m focused on high school and becoming a better player.”