Vic Manuel found himself being sent to his fourth team in just his second season as a pro and hopes he could stay put this time for a bit, since he likes the family atmosphere and he had managed to hike his stats with the Aces under rookie coach Alex Compton.
“Eto na siguro ang pinamakagandang team na napuntahan ko, kasi sa Alaska, family-oriented. Sana nga magtagal na ako dito, masaya na ako dito,” said Globalport’s ninth overall pick in the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft.
The undersized forward from Philippine School of Business Administration has seen his stats and playing minutes hit career-high numbers of 13.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.0 block in 25 minutes in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup semifinal series against Rain or Shine.
The 6-foot-3 former PBA D-League MVP is grateful for the trust given him by Compton, considering the minimal exposure he got playing for Globalport, Meralco and Air21 during his first four conferences in the PBA.
“Nagugulat nga ako eh, siguro sabi rin kasi ni coach yung hustle ko lang saka pinagkakatiwalaan niya akong depensahan si AZ (Reid, Rain or Shine’s import),” Manuel said in the new-found confidence Compton has placed on him.
He is honest enough to say that the points he chips in are just little extras to the team that is loaded with scorers, and that he knows his job is to defend.
“Tiwala lang si coach sa akin na depensahan si AZ. Bonus na lang yung mga points na ma-contribute ko,” he added.
On Saturday night, the Aces will try to bounce back from a stinging overtime loss with a victory against the Elasto Painters in their sudden death match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A win could complete what could be considered a major turnaround this conference for Alaska franchise that has gone through a surprising coaching transition late last month.
And Manuel hopes to help Alaska make history, while reaching his first-ever Finals as a PBA player as well.
“For the first time naka-semis na ako (in the PBA) at gusto ko rin talaga maglaro sa Finals kasi kahit sa D-League di rin ako nakalaro sa Finals,” he said.