IT was something expected from someone who just came from a long layoff.
Vic Manuel admitted he was a bit eager in his first game back from injury, but nonetheless finished in double figures in scoring in Alaska’s 100-85 rout of NLEX in the penultimate day of the PBA Governors Cup eliminations at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 29-year-old native of Licab, Nueva Ecija hardly showed the effects of the calf injury that sidelined him for a number of games, finishing with 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting while adding three rebounds in the win that formalized the Aces' entry in the quarterfinals of the season-ending meet.
“Ok na, medyo gigil lang,” the power forward out of Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) said afterwards.
Although Manuel said there’s a hard lump he can feel somewhere in the injured calf, there’s no more pain whatsoever.
“May matigas sa loob akong nakakapa, pero hindi naman masakit,” said Manuel, who got a lot of ribbing from Rain or Shine players during the interview as the Elasto Painters await their cue before entering the court for Friday’s second game.
Now back at full strength, the ‘Muscle Man’ said he’s looking forward to suiting up in the playoffs in a bid to help the Aces get to the finals for the fourth straight conference.
Be it against reigning champion San Miguel or Barangay Ginebra, Manuel doesn’t care.
“Siyempre, paghahandaan namin lahat yan sa practice. Ready naman kami kahit sino makalaban namin sa kanila,” he said.
And looking at Beau Belga, who stood beside him and teasing Manuel abnewly out his dyed hair, the Alaska big man said, “Reading-ready na kahit makalaban ito," pointing to the Rain or Shine power forward).