Vic Manuel hopes to find luck at Phoenix after Alaska trade

Vic Manuel has his fingers crossed that he will finally find his luck at Phoenix after ending a seven-year stint with Alaska.

Manuel had his wish of being traded granted as Alaska dealt him and two draft picks in the March 14 draft to Phoenix in exchange for Brian Heruela and three draft picks.

The bruising forward sought a trade for a fresh start to his PBA career after multiple runner-up finishes during his time at Alaska.

In 7 seasons, "The Muscle Man" helped Alaska reach the finals 5 times, but the franchise fell short of the grand prize in all occasions, with its last finals loss coming in the 2018 Governors' Cup.

"We've been to 5 finals, but we did not win the championship. Maybe I'll get my luck here at Phoenix," Manuel told Rappler in Filipino.

The 33-year-old, though, acknowledged he has huge shoes to fill as he joins Phoenix, which recently traded star forward Calvin Abueva to Magnolia.

With Abueva returning from an indefinite suspension that lasted for 16 months, Phoenix reached the semifinals of the Philippine Cup last season and almost made the finals for the first time in franchise history.

"The void Calvin left there isn't easy to fill," Manuel said. "For me, my experience in playing is something that I can offer to them."

At Phoenix, Manuel reunites with his former coach Topex Robinson and former Alaska teammate Chris Banchero, who got traded to the team as part of the Abueva deal.

"I need to learn the system that Phoenix runs and apply that to myself because everything starts there," Manuel said.

As he carves a new chapter in his PBA career, Manuel thanked Alaska for the stability the team provided him after spending his first two years in the league with three different teams.

"I'm grateful to Alaska because they were a big help to me," Manuel said.

"I'm happy with my stay at Alaska because I was there for a long time. Before, it was hard when you would get traded and you would always switch teams.

"Now, I was the one who requested a trade from them. I just want a new start for my career." –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.