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Surprise shakeup at CEU as Chico Manabat named new coach

Chico Manabat is replacing his pal Jeff Napa as CEU's coach.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In an interesting development over the camp of arguably the hottest collegiate team among the "mid-majors", Centro Escolar University changed coaches yet again this year.

The Scorpions, known as a powerhouse squad in the UCBL, announced on Wednesday night that Chico Manabat will now handle them as their head coach.

Manabat will replace Jeff Napa, who handled CEU in its brief stint in the PBA D-League this year before the season was effectively canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, as head coach.

An ESPN 5 report on Aug. 27 said that Napa could be on his way back to his alma mater, National University, to become its new gaffer, although CEU, citing a source, clarified the day later that he "remains committed" to the school.

Manabat and Napa have been longtime allies since their playing days with the Bulldogs, which they led to their first UAAP Final Four appearance in 2001 and have since turned into coaching following their graduation.

Manabat has been part of Napa's coaching staff since the latter became the head coach of NU's high school program that he turned into a juniors powerhouse this past decade before moving to Letran to coach the college squad.

Manabat was actually named Napa's assistant coach at CEU, essentially making the appointment of Manabat as head coach a promotion.

"We have faith in Coach Chico’s talent," the Scorpions said in a statement.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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