ANTIPOLO CITY - Although the timing is not yet there, Vic Manuel doesn't mind playing extended minutes especially if it leads to victory for the Alaska Aces.
Coach Alex Compton admitted going overboard when he played Manuel for 24 minutes on Sunday in the Aces' 93-89 win over Meralco in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Ynares Center.
Compton had planned to limit Manuel's playing time as the veteran forward is only two games into his return from an assortment of injuries which had kept him off the court for the last six months.
But with import Chris Daniels in foul trouble and big man Jake Pascual hurting his shoulder, Compton was forced to stretch Manuel's minutes.
No problem, said the 'Muscleman.'
"Kaya ko naman. Parang nag-aalala nga sila sa akin kasi para daw hingal kabayo ako. Pero pakiramdam ko naman kayang-kaya ko namang maglaro," said Manuel, last year's recipient of the Mr. Quality Minutes Award by the PBA Press Corps.
Manuel showed what he can do for the Aces when healthy. He finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting while adding six rebounds.
He admitted missing playing the game since coming down with a back injury during Game 5 of the Governors Cup finals against Magnolia last year.
"Masarap maglaro. Kaya masaya ako na nakabalik na ako," he said.
The Aces have now won their last three games, including the last two after Manuel returned from injury. Overall, Alaska carries a 4-2 record and is bound to get better once Manuel gets back his old deadly form.
"Ok na pakiramdam ko. Siguro kukunin ko pa yung timing ko kasi parang naghahabol pa ako," he said.