VIC Manuel saw his 11-game streak of scoring 20 points or more get snapped after Game One of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
But Alaska coach Alex Compton said the end of that offensive streak didn’t mean Manuel played a terrible game on Saturday.
Compton hailed Manuel on the defensive end on the night where the Alaska star only had 16 points in Game One’s 92-79 loss to San Miguel.
“I thought the thing that impressed me tonight about Vic was the best defensive game I’ve seen him play in a long time,” said Compton. “You don’t always get scorers giving their best effort defensively. I thought defensively today, and I told him afterwards, I was proud of your defensive effort. It has to continue that way.”
Manuel said he is not disappointed his streak of 20-plus point game ended on Saturday, but admitted it was tough to score against the Beermen’s phalanx of defenders led by Renaldo Balkman and June Mar Fajardo.
Manuel actually had a cut in his shooting hand, but said it was not to blame for his 7-of-20 shooting from the field.
“’Yung San Miguel, magagaling din dumepensa sa post. Ang lalaki din nila eh so talagang nahirapan din ako. Siguro next game, papakita ko ulit. Pero hindi naman ako na-limit sa scoring, talagang masama lang ‘yung start ko. Ayoko naman sisihin ‘yung kamay ko na nagkaproblema kasi nakakatira naman ako ng maayos,” said Manuel.
Compton agreed San Miguel was just superb on defense against Manuel.
“He was missing shots that he is usually making for the last 11 games. He missed some shots. Credit their defense. But the thing about defense, you can always do it. Sometimes, you have a legitimate NBA defender in Balkman so you know it’s a little bit harder,” said Compton.
Manuel said Alaska’s defense, especially on Fajardo, will still have to step up come Game Two with the Aces faced with a 0-1 deficit entering Monday’s clash. Fajardo had 17 points in Game One.
“Kasi that time na-limit namin siya sa seven points. Ngayon ata, halos 20 points ang ginawa niya. Siguro next game, kailangan ma-stop namin siya, at kung gusto namin manalo, dapat trabahuin namin,” said Manuel.
As Compton looked back at the scoring streak of Manuel, the Alaska coach said he hasn’t seen a local player the way Manuel has dominated the conference.
“He has been great… I’ve been a nerd my whole life. I’m a stats nerd but I don’t know the last time in an import conference that a big man has scored that much points consistently in that a few minutes. We play a pressing style so I don’t play my guys 40 minutes. If we’ve played walk-it-up, slow-things-down, really-deliberate basketball, gosh maybe Vic would have averaged 30 points a game.
“We got to number two playing this way and we are going to keep playing this way,” said Compton.