In His Own Terms

In His Own Terms


Matthew Manotoc opens up about falling into politics, living with his middle name, and sharing his father’s athletic DNA

This is an excerpt from MEGA Man’s November 2022 cover story.

Duality can be a good thing. That is what Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc is proving as we talk to him in a low-key coffee shop just around Taguig City. This high-profile gentleman walked to get here at three o’clock in the afternoon—on the dot and without any security detail in tow, which is typical of him. Accompanying him are his girlfriend, Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell and their new Cavalier King Charles named Charlotte, both of whom are walking around the vicinity as we are chatting.

Matthew is statuesque in a plain white shirt and bespoke pants from William Lee, the haberdasher in Makati City, owned by his kuya, Borgy Manotoc. It’s obvious how supportive he is of his brother, and how proud he is of wearing his clothes at a casual meet-up. “I’m very close to my brothers, super close,” he says. Besides Borgy, who is into retail business, Matthew has another kuya, Michael Matonoc, who is a lawyer.

The governor is a post-’86 baby. He was born in Portugal, where he began exhibiting the same athletic DNA of his father, Philippine Basketball Association Hall of Fame inductee and former coach, Tommy Manotoc. “I actually think I’m very similar to my dad, honestly,” he says. “I grew up playing sports. It’s really my passion. I’m pretty easygoing. I grew up with him, watched him play basketball and golf. He never pushed us into it, but that’s what happened.”

Matthew started playing golf at three years old, and he even competed in a tournament in Malacañang when he was five. With this early childhood experience, Matthew shares that politics had never crossed his mind. As he sips his coffee with coconut sugar, he tells us, “I fell into it. I was really a frustrated athlete. I grew up playing competitive golf. When I was fourteen or fifteen, medyo na-burnout na ako sa golf. That’s when it dawned on me that, ‘Okay, maybe becoming Tiger Woods is unrealistic.’”

To continue with his passion, Matthew along with his friend and business partner Marvin Espiritu, spearheaded one of the biggest basketball agencies in the country, the Espiritu Manotoc Basketball Management (EMBM). This was part of an effort to continue agent and icon Danny Espiritu’s trail. “It’s mostly handling the business side of the contractual negotiations,” he explains his role in the agency. “We negotiate contracts for their team, as well as endorsements and sponsorships. Also, we cover financial planning, taxes, and sports psychology. We try to be full service, so basically, the athletes just need to worry about playing basketball.” Some of the star athletes they are handling are Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, Jayson Castro, Beau Belga, and Arwind Santos, to name a few.

Matthew wants to help athletes have better lives even after their prime years in sports have passed: “There’s a problem that players aren’t able to save and invest properly. Hopefully, these guys can be more realistic and careful. You never know if ma-iinjure ka. So it’s setting yourself up for the future and professionalizing the service. Be transparent and exercise all options. It’s basically leveling up so the standard is higher.”

Read more about Matthew Manotoc, the athlete with a passion for politics, in MEGA Man’s November 2022 issue, now available on ReadlyMagzter, Press Reader and Zinio.

Art Direction MARC YELLOW
Grooming Direction MIA CASTRO
Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU

Video Production AUDREY SISON
Shot on Location at LIME RESORT MANILA

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