VIC Manuel was quick to pay tribute to Meralco for its stingy defense that helped put an end to Alaska's seven-game winning run, 89-74, on Sunday.
The Aces were held to 38 percent shooting - and just 4-of-22 from three-point land - by Meralco's league-best defense, which was so good in the second half it held the enemy to just 34 points.
That was the story of the game right there, said Manuel.
“Ayun nga eh. Kasi nga yung Meralco sila ata yung number one defensive team sa liga ngayon. Talagang na-limit nila kami sa scoring. Siguro di namin gabi. Tsaka medyo marami rin kaming turnovers kaya siguro ganon,” Manuel said.
However, not even the suffocating Bolts defense was enough to cool down Manuel.
The Muscle Man finished with 22 points on 10-20 shooting in 25 minutes of action off the bench, scoring on everyone from Cliff Hodge to Arinze Onauku, for his eighth straight game scoring 20 or more points.
Manuel shared the Bolts’ hulking import even dared him to take those mid-range shots that he seemed to have mastered this conference.
He gladly obliged.
“Si Onuaku parang china-challenge niya ko kanina na itira ko sa labas eh so ayun may mga times naman na pumapasok kanina. Ready lang ako lagi tsaka ine-enjoy ko lang yung laro,” Manuel said.
Unfortunately for him, he found little help outside of import Tony Campbell as the rest of the Aces fired blanks in the second off.
“Oo nga. Yun nga, parang off-night talaga kami kanina eh. Bad execution tapos ang dami pang turnovers. Saka ang galing dumipensa ng Meralco. Sobrang aggressive nila sa depensa. Di naman laging swerte sa laro.”