ANTIPOLO, Philippines – Vic Manuel did not mind playing beyond his minutes restriction. Not one bit.
Suiting up in just his second PBA game since December, Manuel barely looked like he had been away from the game after helping Alaska edge Meralco, 93-89, in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday, June 9.
Manuel was initially set to play for just 18 minutes maximum, but instead suited up for more than 24 minutes as Aces import Chris Daniels battled foul trouble and fellow big man Jake Pascual hurt his shoulder.
Despite coming off a back injury, Manuel is not complaining though.
“Siyempre gustong gusto ko ‘yun, ang sarap maglaro eh,” Manuel said of his extended playing time. “At saka ang tagal ko ‘di naglaro, almost 6 months din ata. Masaya ako na nakabalik na ako.”
(Of course I wanted to play longer because it feels good to be out there. And I haven’t played for a long time, probably 6 months. I’m happy that I’m back.)
Manuel made the most of his minutes, scoring 17 points on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting off the bench. He also added 6 rebounds and 2 steals in the win.
“‘Di ko expect ‘yung minutes ko ngayon na ganoon kahaba. Talagang pinush ko na lang sarili ko kasi alam ko na kailangan din ako ni coach sa laro, tsaka importante sa amin ‘yung panalo,” he said.
(I didn’t expect that my minutes would be that long. I just pushed myself because I knew coach needed me in the game, and what’s important is we won.)
Alaska coach Alex Compton praised Manuel for his ability to immediately make his presence felt, comparing him to PBA great Allan Caidic.
“[T]here’s a certain thing that certain people have, and I never had it as a player, but it’s that Allan Caidic thing, where you don’t touch a ball for a long time, and you walk in, and you’re the best player in the gym,” Compton said.
“How does that guy do that? I just think he’s got that thing. If I could bottle it, I’d be a billionaire.”
With his offensive groove back, Manuel said he just needs to sharpen his form as the tournament progresses.
“Okay na ‘yung pakiramdam ko. Siguro kunin ko na lang talaga timing ko, parang naghahabol pa ako doon,” he said.
(I feel all right. I guess I just need to find my timing because I think that’s what I lack.) – Rappler.com
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