The veteran big man was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for nine points in his first game in the playoffs, though the effort wasn’t enough as the Beermen went down against the Bay Area Dragons for the second straight time, 114-95, Friday night at the Philsports Arena.
Manuel admitted he had no practice for more than a week now that his playing minutes have to be managed.
“Wala akong practice, eight days na yata. Wala akong (practice sa) court, talagang total rest siya. Pahinga talaga. Wala akong movement, workout. Therapy lang,” said the San Miguel forward.
Obviously his rhythm and timing aren’t there.
“So siguro sa practice kahit papaano itatakbo-takbo ko ito para makakuha ako ng timing,” added the ‘Muscle Man.
But the native of Licab, Nueva Ecija said he’s certain to play in Game Three and beyond, should the Beermen manage to extend the best-of-five series in which they trail, 0-2.
“Basta tuluy lang ang therapy ko,” adding he doesn’t feel any pain on the injured knee.
“Pero mahina kasi, wala kasi akong workout, e,” said Manuel.
The 6-foot-4 product of Philippine School of Business Administration missed the first three games of the playoffs due to the injury.
Manuel said he would have wanted to play more especially in the second half, but wouldn't want to risk his health.
"Gusto ko pang maglaro, pero kailangan i-maintain yung minutes ko e. Hindi puwedeng ituluy-tuloy. Mas ako ang mahihirapan kapag lumagpas ako sa minutes na yun. Hindi siya talaga puwede," he added when asked about being recalled to the bench for good early in the fourth quarter.