For many of basketball’s growing fans, the feeling of finally stepping into the Araneta Coliseum to see the pros up close is exciting. Witnessing how thousands of fans can easily fill the arena so quickly as they create deafening noise of cheers, claps, and chants – a noise that could only be silence by one iconic voice.
“Ladies and gentlemen, introducing your starting lineup for the Ginebra Gin Kings!” barks Rolly Manlapaz, a longtime court announcer for the PBA, NCAA, and the UAAP. You will instantly learn that when Rolly’s deep, breathtaking, hair-raising voice rippled through the microphone and into the stadium – it was time for action.
At the age of 58, Manlapaz passed away in the hands of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on the afternoon of September 27, 2018.
From his famous lineup introductions to his post-three-point shot announcements, Manlapaz made every moment in basketball grand. He gave life and an uplifting spirit to the game we all love. For more than two decades, Rolly’s beloved voice completed the experience for basketball’s most loyal fans.
Teams treated him like family. A subtle high-five before checking into the game, a few seconds of chatter with players showed everyone hints of how much he loved his job. Adlibs and monikers were also huge parts of Manlapaz’ charm. Abueva’s “The Beast”, Tubid’s “The Saint”, and Cañaleta’s “KG” were only a few of his famed nicknames for players.
Rolly may be gone, but the color he gave the sport remains. And as the basketball community moves forward, its players, coaches, and fans promise to keep the spirit alive – for Rolly Manlapaz and the love for the game.
PlayPH sends its deepest condolences to the Manlapaz family. R.I.P. Rolly.
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