Best Player of the Conference award not Vic Manuel's priority
MANILA, Philippines – The PBA Commissioner's Cup is the canvas and Vic Manuel is the ultra-talented painter who has been drawing up masterpieces every time he suits up for the Alaska Aces.
But "The Muscle Man," who has now scored at least 20 points for 8 straight games, made it clear that he is not targeting the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) plum.
"Hindi, hindi," said Manuel when asked by sports scribes if he wants to win the conference's highest individual recognition.
(No, that is not my goal.)
"Basta goal namin makapasok kami sa playoffs. Makapunta kaming semis. Or pag sinwerte kami, makabalik kami sa finals. 'Yun 'yung goal namin eh."
(Our goal is to make the playoffs. We want to reach the semis and if we get lucky, we want to return to the finals. That is our goal.)
Although Manuel said the BPC is the least of his concerns, he is certainly playing like it's top priority.
The bruising forward is the highest scoring local, boasting an average of 24.2 points in 9 games to eclipse even the averages of imports Malcolm White, Justin Brownlee and Arinze Onuaku. He is also norming 6.3 rebounds.
And Manuel is not just scoring in bunches but also doing it efficiently, making 10.4 of his 17.8 shot attempts in just 22.2 minutes of action – the lowest in the Top 10 where all of the league's best scorers are playing at least 30 minutes per game.
His individual heroics has also translated to Alaska's success as the team has secured a playoff spot with a 7-2 card. It is only in a 74-89 loss to the Meralco Bolts on Sunday, June 17, that Manuel's 20-point game did not end up in a win for the Aces.
The 30-year-old was his usual self against the Bolts with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks but the Aces collectively had trouble putting the ball in the hoop as they were held below 90 points for the first time following a 7-game winning streak.
"Talagang nalimit nila kami sa scoring. Siguro 'di namin gabi. Tsaka medyo marami rin kaming turnovers kaya siguro ganoon," said Manuel.
(We were limited in scoring. Maybe it is not just our night. We also committed many turnovers and that is probably the reason that we lost.)
Manuel and the Aces seek to return to the winning column when they meet Barangay Ginebra next Sunday, June 24, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com