TALK of a possible Finals MVP award doesn’t concern Vic Manuel, even if Alaska has taken a 2-0 lead over San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup mainly because of his heroics.
Manuel had another spectacular game on Tuesday when he had 18 points and seven rebounds in the Aces’ 83-80 victory - a fitting follow-up to a Game One performance that saw him score a career-high 24 points to go with five rebounds, two steals, a block, and an assist.
No wonder fans have started entertaining thoughts of a Finals MVP honor for the underrated and undersized forward, who has so far been the most consistent player from either side in the title playoffs.
The Nueva Ecija native, however, would have none of it.
“Wala akong mako-comment diyan dahil gusto ko muna mag-champion. ‘Yun lang ang importante sa akin,” said Manuel, the only player who won an MVP trophy in both the Philippine Basketball League and the PBA D-League.
Manuel’s burning desire to lift a championship with Alaska is understandable since the Aces have lost to San Miguel in their two most recent face-offs in the title series.
“Maka-isa man lang kasi tatlong beses na kaming nag-tuos. Na-dalawa na kami. Dapat maipanalo na namin ngayon,” Manuel said.
Despite a 2-0 lead, Manuel still thinks it will still be a tough road ahead for the Aces even if two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo fails to rejoin San Miguel in the series.
“Hindi pa rin eh. Hindi pa namin ma-sense,” said Manuel. “Ang hirap kalaban ng San Miguel. Kahit wala si June Mar, sobrang hirap pa rin kami. Paghahandaan pa rin namin sila sa practice. Kailangan naming tutukan bukas ‘yung mga adjustments.”