VIC Manuel credited his exposure to 3-on-3 hoops for a more polished post game that was evident in Alaska’s 114-98 win over Talk ‘N Text that opened their PBA Philippine Cup campaign on Friday night.
The Aces power forward, who represented the country in the Fiba 3-on-3 World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi last week, flashed the full range of his post moves to emerge as the team’s leading scorer with 22 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting, on top of 10 boards and two assists in just 21 minutes.
“Mas madalas talaga ‘dun yung one-on-one sa post, ‘di ba?” Manuel said. “Tsaka laging sinasabi ni coach na dadating yung bola sa amin sa ilalim, so talagang maraming one-on-one sa amin.”
The 6-foot-4 forward insisted he hardly asserted himself offensively, implying his teammates just found him down low.
“Siguro nagkataon lang na yung bola na sa amin, so tinake lang namin yung opportunity na maka-score,” said Manuel, who averaged 8.6 points in 18 minutes last season.
Still, the former D-League Best Player awardee stressed he should embrace this opportunity on offense in his fourth year as a pro.
“Kailangan mas maging aggressive pa kami sa mga dadating na games,” the 28-year-old cager said.
While Manuel benefited from his national team stint, 3-on-3 teammate and TNT rookie Troy Rosario struggled in his debut.
“Siguro naninibago lang si Troy kasi hindi naman basta-basta yung laro sa PBA, ‘di ba? Medyo pisikal din,” said Manuel, who also teamed up with Calvin Abueva in the 3-on-3 tilt. “Sinasabihan namin siya ni Calvin na dapat ready siya lagi kasi mas malaki siya sa amin eh.”
“Ang ginawa namin, dinaan na lang namin sa experience kasi nahirapan rin talaga kami sa kanya, sobrang athletic eh,” the former Philippine School of Business Administration Jaguar added.