ALASKA bruising forward Vic Manuel admitted emotions got the better end of him and the rest of the Aces, making them lose their focus in a 100-86 setback to San Miguel that tied the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Friday night.
Manuel was the biggest casualty of the highly-physical Game Two encounter at the Smart Aranera Coliseum as he was slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 1 for wrapping up his arm around the neck of rookie David Semerad early in the fourth period.
And no matter how remorseful he was for the incident, the episode triggered San Miguel ferocious endgame blitz that tore Alaska apart and tied the best-of-seven title series at one-game apiece.
“Dun (flagrant foul 2) yata nagsimula yung rally nila (Beermen). Parang na-frustrate ako. Sabi ko, babawi na lang ako sa next game. Eh may halong pagsisisi, pero nangyari na eh. Nadala tayo sa pisikalan,” said the forward out of PSBA.
The 6-foot-4 Manuel said no matter how many times the team was reminded by Alaska coach Alex Compton to stay focus on the game, the physicality displayed by the Beermen somehow got into the Aces’ nerves.
“Focus lang kami sa game, yun sinasabi ni coach. Kaso nawawala talaga kami sa game. Na-out of focus kami kanina at naging physical na, first quarter pa lang,” rued Manuel, who shot an atrocious 1-of-8 from the field to finish with a season-low two points and five rebounds.
For his part, Semerad said his fiery plays was his way of helping San Miguel bounced back following the team’s 82-88 overtime loss to Alaska in Game One.
“Every time I get in, I just gotta step up even though I’m limited in minutes,” said Semerad, who contributed 10 points and four rebounds off the bench, while courageously fighting for position underneath against Manuel and Calvin Abueva
“We (referring to Manuel’s wrap-around on his neck) just got entangled and he grabbed me, but that happens. It’s part of the game, not much to say,” he added.
The 6-foot-4 Semerad, twin brother of Globalport’s Anthony Semerad, mentioned that it didn’t matter who he had to defend during the game, although he did admit a separate skirmish with Abueva was obviously a spillover of their college rivalry in the NCAA.
“We definitely played in the (NCAA) Finals. It was rough, and maybe, we (their college rivalry) bring it here in the PBA. But that’s all part of basketball.”
Semerad played for San Beda, which up-ended Abueva and San Sebastian’s reign during the 2010 NCAA Finals.