VIC Manuel said he was surprised to make it to the Final 12 of Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“Unang una, hindi,” said Manuel, when asked if he expected making it to the pool. “Alam mo naman ‘yung lineup ng Gilas. ‘Yung top 15, parang alanganin pa ‘yung spot ko nung una eh. Masaya talaga ako. Nakakatuwa.”
Manuel, who will be making his Philippine team debut in the five-a-side game, admitted he didn't expect to be picked over the Ginebra trio of Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, and Arth Dela Cruz.
“Biruin mo, si Greg Slaughter ‘yung na-cut, di ba? Nakakatuwa rin eh (na makapasok). Greg Slaughter ‘yun eh,” said Manuel.
“Alam mo naman na dream ko talaga makalaro dito. Binigyan ako ng chance, i-grab ko. Talagang achievement sa akin ‘yun,” Manuel said.
Manuel vowed to repay the trust of Gilas coach Tim Cone.
“Kung ano ‘yung maitutulong ko sa team ko, kailangan mas doblehin ko pa ‘yun. Hindi na Alaska doon. Pilipinas na ‘yung pinaglalabanan namin doon,” Manuel said.
Even though Alaska failed to make it to the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals, Manuel said he will continue to keep himself in shape in the days leading up to the start of the SEA Games basketball competition on December 4.
"Ready lang ako [para sa] pagbalik namin sa practice. Twice a day ata kami this week. Kailangan i-prepare ko sarili ko kasi medyo nakakapagod din ‘yung mga araw na ‘yun. Kailangan i-prepare ko ‘yung sarili ko,” said Manuel.