VIC Manuel didn't look like he was nursing an injury when he led Alaska to a 100-91 win over San Miguel in Game One of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday night.
But the Aces workhorse actually played with a bad back, which he sustained after a collision with Doug Kramer in Game Five of the semifinals against GlobalPort.
Manuel said he didn’t practice for two days and only took part in their training session – a light one – on the eve of the title series opener.
“Talagang ininda ko yun,” the Aces power forward admitted after practice on the eve of Game Two on Tuesday. “Pero yung mga PT (physical therapists) namin, naagapan naman nila.”
That didn’t prevent Manuel from putting up a remarkable performance especially down the stretch, scattering 14 of his career-high-matching 24 points in the fourth quarter on top of five boards, two steals, one block, and one assist in 27 minutes.
The Aces usually don’t reveal their injuries and Manuel doesn’t mind continuing to play through pain until they capture the crown.
“May nararamdaman pa ako (na sakit), pero saka na natin ramdamin yung pag tapos na yung finals,” said the 6-foot-4 forward, who’s motivated by his five-year-old daughter Keisha.
“Siguro lagi akong inaano nung baby ko eh. Lagi niya sa akin pinapaalala na galingan ko lagi,” Manuel said. “Nakaka-inspire maglaro dahil lagi silang naka-suporta sa akin.”