IT would be a homecoming of sorts for Vic Manuel at NorthPort.
Once the trade between the Batang Pier and Phoenix Fuel Masters involving Manuel and Sean Anthony is approved, the 34-year-old forward dubbed ‘Muscle Man’ will be going full circle and returning to his PBA roots.
Manuel played his rookie season with the franchise owned by now Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero that picked him in the first round at ninth overall during the 2012 draft headed by No. 1 overall selection June Mar Fajardo.
But it was a rather brief stint for Manuel at GlobalPort (the brand the team carried back then) as he played for then coach Glenn Capacio for just the 2012-13 Philippine Cup before being traded to Meralco in a multi-player deal that also involved Rey Guevarra, Josh Vanlandingham and a 2015 first-round pick for Sol Mercado, Kelly Nabong, Yousif Aljamal, and Jaypee Belencion.
Ironically on his way back to the Batang Pier, Manuel also played just a single conference for Phoenix, which acquired him prior to the 2021 Philippine Cup via a trade with Alaska for a number of draft picks and veteran guard Brian Heruela.
Manuel, a former D-League Best Player of the Conference, also had stops with Air21 and Alaska, where he eventually found his niche as one of the league’s talented bigs that resulted in his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas team that won the gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Other than Fajardo, only Calvin Abueva – a close buddy of Manuel – Cliff Hodge, and Aldrech Ramos remain active from the first round batchmates of Manuel in the 2012 rookie class.
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