Fit-again Vic Manuel earns Player of the Week nod for leading Alaska surge
Vic Manuel is back in full force after an injury-riddled season as shown by his back-to-back stellar outings the past week. Jerome Ascano 

WITH his knee issues now a thing of the past, Vic Manuel is back to his explosive self, helping Alaska stretch its winning run to six this past week in the PBA Philippine Cup.

‘The Muscleman’ averaged solid numbers of 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals off the bench to power Alaska past Phoenix and GlobalPort, respectively, earning the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of January 29 to February 4.

The stocky Manuel, who was hampered by knee issues last year, showed mobility and strength as evident in his 21-point, 5-rebound effort in Alaska’s thrilling 105-98 overtime win over GlobalPort Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The 6-foot-4 Manuel followed up his pair of free throws with an inside stab in the extra period to frustrate the Batang Pier, who blew a 13-point lead in the third period, leading to their fourth loss in seven matches.

Prior to their match against GlobalPort, Manuel logged in 10 points and grabbed three rebounds in another off-the-bench role as Alaska routed Phoenix, 93-75 in a lopsided contest.

Alaska, which started the season with back-to-back losses, has won its last six matches to occupy joint second place with Magnolia, just half a game behind pacesetter San Miguel (6-1) in the race for the two twice-to-beat incentives.

The 30-year-old Manuel bested teammates Calvin Abueva and Chris Banchero, Kelly Williams and Jayson Castro of TNT, Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and Ed Daquioag, SMB’s Chris Ross, Chico Lanete and Fajardo, NLEX’s Cyrus Baguio and Larry Fonacier as well as Magnolia guard Mark Barroca for the weekly citation.

Alaska takes a weeklong respite before swinging back to action on Sunday against NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.  

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