ALASKA welcomes the return to active duty of big man Vic Manuel in time for its crucial PBA Governors Cup encounter against NLEX on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The ‘Muscle Man’ has already been cleared to play for the 4:30 p.m. tussle, where no less than an outright quarterfinals berth will be at stake.
Both the Aces and Road Warriors currently tote similar 5-5 records, with the winner becoming the sixth team to make it to the next round after TNT Katropa, Barangay Ginebra, defending champion San Miguel, Meralco, and Mahindra.
“Vic is obviously a crucial player for us. He has really performed well up until his injuries sidelined him,” said Alaska mentor Alex Compton.
“We don’t want to rush him and there is no pressure on him to have to play heavy minutes immediately,” he added.
The Aces have won their last three outings, a streak they hope to stretch with the 6-foot-3 Manuel back in harness.
The power forward out of Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) had missed several games in the eliminations of the season-ending conference after the calf injury he sustained in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs recurred.
In a talk with SPIN.ph last week following Alaska’s 133-106 rout of Globalport at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, Manuel thought he’d already be activated by the Aces for their game against the Batang Pier.
Apparently, Alaska doctors had given him one more week to complete his therapy for the injury to fully heal.
“Gusto nila mangyari i-kumpleto yung rehab ko. So one week pa siguro,” Manuel said a week ago.
Compton said the Aces will bring Manuel back slowly but surely.
“Hopefully, he can get his feet wet and have a positive step in his comeback, so that his game continues to pick up,” said the Alaska coach. “We are excited to have him back in the active roster.”