IT’S Vic Manuel’s way of making up for lost time, so to speak.
The Alaska power forward was in a zone for the second straight game, sparking the Aces’ second quarter surge on the way to a 134-103 rout of Columbian Dyip in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The resurgent big man scored 20 of his team-high 26 points in the first half as the team notched a second straight win after losing a heartbreaker to Rain or Shine in overtime last week.
Manuel was 12-of-17 from the field and added four rebounds in a fitting follow-up to his 27-point effort in a similar easy win by the Aces over Blackwater Elite, 93-74.
“Gusto kong makatulong sa team kasi galing ako sa injury, one season din,” said the 30-year-old native of Licab, Nueva Ecija.
Manuel had a roller-coaster stint last year owing to various leg injuries, but began the season fit and healthy that he’s been playing the way he did in 2016 when the Alaska big man was a strong candidate for the PBAPC Finals MVP of the Philippine Cup.
Coach Alex Compton was quick to notice the obvious in Manuel’s game.
“He’s such an efficient scorer, and I think the big thing about Vic right now is he’s in the best shape I’ve seen him for a while. He’s been on and with injuries the last few years,” said the Alaska mentor.
“Yung mga gaya ni Vic mahirap hanapin. He can shoot the mid-range and in the post, he’s such a dynamic (player).”
While he appreciates the compliment given by his coach, all Manuel wants is just to play and help the Aces adopt a winning culture again.
“Every time na gamitin naman ako ready akong maglaro,” he said. “Yung kagustuhan kong maglaro ngayon kaya siguro maganda ang nagiging resulta.”