VIC Manuel is now happily settled with his new team, Alaska Aces.
And he couldn't be any happier.
In fact, the hard-banging Licab, Nueva Ecija native bared that he feels blessed to have landed at Alaska and not at San Mig, the team that according to trade rumors had also eyed him in a trade.
They Said It!
“Matagal na kaming magkasama ni coach Luigi (Trillo). Siya ang nagpasikat sa akin. Sa kanya ako nag MVP sa D-League." Alaska forward Vic Manuel
“Akala ko nga San Mig ako mapupunta, kasi 'yun ang nababasa ko. Pero sabi nga sa akin, nag-back out daw si coach Tim Cone, dahil gumanda takbo ng San Mig, nag-champion pa,” said Manuel, just hours after the one-on-one trade that saw Aldrech Ramos go to Air21 was approved by the league.
But when asked why he preferred Alaska over San Mig, the undersized forward said: "Eh matagal na kaming magkasama ni coach Luigi (Trillo) eh. Siya ang nagpasikat sa akin. Sa kanya ako nag MVP sa D-League."
So, high is Manuel's respect for Trillo that he already followed his longtime mentor's order to show up for his first practice with Alaska from 12-3 p.m. on Monday, even with the trade yet to be approved.
“Sabi ni coach, tinawagan ako kagabi, mag-practice na daw ako. Kaya naman nagpunta ako agad. Ako yung uri ng kung ano sabihin ni coach, susundin ko,” said Manuel.
The 26-year-old late-bloomer believes that he’ll have the right playing time at Alaska than at San Mig which already has a very loaded frontline.
“Okay naman ako dito. Saka kabisado ko nga ang ibang play nila, 'yun din kasi nira-run namin sa Cebuana nuong araw. Saka gusto nila dito ma-hustle, kaya sakto ako,” added the ninth pick overall of the 2012 PBA rookie draft.
The trade underwent several revisions and, at some point, nearly included Air21 players Carlo Sharma and Renren Ritualo, sources said.
A Spin.ph source bared that the deal could have included Sharma, but it did not materialize as Alaska ran out of extra pieces to add to the package.
And hours before the deal was consummated on Sunday afternoon, veteran streak shooter Ritualo was also nearly added to the mix.
“Wala, hindi na naisama si Ren-Ren. Hindi kasi pumayag ang Air 21 ng one is to two (deal),” said the source.