Alaska forward Vic Manuel expects to be healthy enough to play late in PBA Finals
Vic Manuel reduced into a spectator in Alaska's series versus Meralco. Jerome Ascano

IT’S the PBA finals and even though sidelined for most of the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs due to injury, Vic Manuel is still hopeful he can suit up for Alaska in its best-of-seven title duel against Rain or Shine.

Minutes after the Aces formalized their entry into the championship series by ousting stubborn Meralco Bolts, 76-70, ‘The Muscleman’ expressed confidence he can return from a calf injury and help the franchise win its first championship after three straight failed trips to the finals.

Manuel said team doctors are looking for him to be back on the court by Game Three or Game Four of the series.

But he did admit there’s still some pain in the injury he suffered during Game Two of the Aces’ quarterfinal playoff against Tropang TNT.

“Oo, meron pa akong nararamdaman kaya pinapahinga ko pa,” he said. “Yung calf kasi napunit siya, kaya kailangan lang ipahinga tapos stretngthening, and theraphy na rin.”

[See Jimmy Alapag rues timing of hand injury]

Manuel has yet to practice with the team, but is already starting some shooting drills.

He admittedthe itch to finally get back on the court.

“Excited na nga ako, gusting-gusto ko na ngang maglaro nung nakaraan pa, pero hindi pa nga puwede,” said the Alaska forward.

Asked if he’s not forcing the issue, Manuel made it clear he’s already recovered from the injury.

“Magaling na siya. Kailangan lang ipahinga, medyo mahina pa siya. Kailangan pang palakasin talaga,” he added.

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