ALEX Compton only has former Alaska coach Luigi Trillo to thank for the trade that brought Vic Manuel to the Aces' camp from GlobalPort.
After bouncing around three teams in his first two-and-a-half seasons in the PBA, the 6-3 Manuel has proven to be a steal for the Aces since acquiring the undersized and underrated forward in a one-on-one trade with Air21 in exchange for Aldrech Ramos.
Manuel actually broke into the league as GlobalPort’s ninth overall pick in the 2012 rookie draft. The hardworking forward was traded to Meralco during his rookie season, followed by a brief stint with Air21, before finding his way to Alaska last season.
The 27-year-old forward was taken by Trillo - his former coach in the D-League - to the Alaska camp but has blossomed into one of the team's most reliable players in Compton's watch.
“Vic has really been playing well ever since we acquired him. And it was actually (former Alaska) coach Luigi who made the trade and we are still reaping the benefits,” Compton told Spin.ph.
The wide-bodied Manuel managed has played particularly well in the Aces' two do-or-die quarterfinal matches, averaging a team-best 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Manuel banged in 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and issued four assists to help the Aces move past the 10th-seeded NLEX Road Warriors, 82-78 last Thursday.
The former Philippine School of Business Administration standout followed it up three days later when he scored 17 points and hauled down nine rebounds to lead the Aces to an easy 87-69 romp against the Meralco Bolts, who ironically had Trillo on the bench as an assistant coach.
With veteran forward Gabby Espinas out for the season-opening conference due to a broken foot, Compton is thankful to see Manuel fill the void and seize his chance to shine.
“He (Manuel) has provided some post scoring for us and athleticism that fits right into our system,” said Compton of his forward, who beat out teammate Dondon Hontiveros for the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week citation for the period of December 9-14.
“I’m really happy for Vic and he teams up with Calvin (Abueva) very well for us at the four spot,” added the 40-year-old Alaska coach.
Compton said he hopes Manuel’s consistent plays can augur well for the Aces, who will be facing the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in a best-of-seven semifinal series, starting this week.