VIC Manuel admitted Alaska was overeager and grew complacent when it built a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 lead against San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The Aces had the best chance to close out the best-of-seven series in Game Four where they nurtured an 11-point lead in the last three minutes, before the Beermen began to mount an unbelievable comeback to win the game – and eventually the series.
“Yung Game Four, talagang may chance na kami manalo tapos nakabalik sila, ayun,” Manuel said. “May gigil nga kami nun at tsaka nag-relax din.”
Manuel, though, was never in relax mode.
Although he produced just three points after missing all but one of his seven shots and five boards in the deciding game, the energetic forward emerged as the most consistent Alaska player in the series where he averaged 18.3 points on 58.1 percent shooting, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists, in 27.3 minutes in the series.
Those numbers would’ve been more than enough for the 28-year-old Nueva Ecija native to secure the Finals MVP plum had the Aces captured the crown.
“Nung una pa lang about dyan (MVP talk), ‘di importante sa’kin finals MVP,” Manuel insisted. “Ang importante sa’kin yung pinaka first title ko sa PBA. Yun talaga hinahabol ko, kaso talagang bigo pa rink kami ngayon.
“Marami pa namang conference, so siguro yun pagtrabahuhan pa rin namin para makuha ko 'yun,” he added.
Still, the 6-foot-4 cager can’t help but feel regret over the lost opportunity.
“Sobrang nakakapanghinayang talaga,” Manuel said. “Talagang yung San Miguel, ‘di nag-give up. Binigay nila lahat para makuha panalo.”
All he can do is move on.
“Kalimutan na namin 'yun,” Manuel said. “Move on na para sa next conference.”