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    ‘Muscleman’ Vic Manuel admits filling in for injured Fajardo hard to do

    Oct 24, 2022
    Vic Manuel NLEX SMB
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    IN only his third conference with San Miguel, Vic Manuel is coming in handy for the injury-hit Beermen.

    The veteran forward has to work double time for the Beermen in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign with main man June Mar Fajardo out for about a month after undergoing throat surgery.

    Manuel admitted it’s a whole lot different with the 6-foot-10 Fajardo not around to roam in the middle for the defending champions.

    “Ang hirap nung nagiging adjustment kasi yung offense namin sa kanya talaga umiikot. Alam mo naman iba yung June Mar kapag nasa loob ng court. Kapag nasa kanya yung bola ang dami talagang nangyayari,” said the 35-year-old big man from Licab, Nueva Ecija.

    READ: June Mar Fajardo discharged from hospital but will be out 4 weeks

    Three games since the unexpected exit of the six-time MVP, Manuel said the team is slowly coping and posted its first win in his absence on Sunday by beating NLEX, 124-116, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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    The ‘Muscleman’ tried to step in and fill the huge gap left by Fajardo by coming through with 22 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

    He came up big in the second half where he scored 16 points as he helped the Beermen staved off repeated rallies by the Road Warriors.

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    But Manuel said it’s not all about him, but a collective effort by the San Miguel bigs is needed if the team is to improve its current 2-3 standings.

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      “Ngayong wala siya (Fajardo), kailangan talaga mag-step up kaming ibang bigs dito like Mo (Tautuaa), si Rodney (Brondial). Tsaka yung import namin kailangan tulungan namin,” he said.

      “Kailangan every game ready kami, focus kami. Para kahit paano mapunan namin yung pagkawala ni June Mar.”

      Manuel came over at San Miguel in a one-on-one trade with NorthPort for fellow veteran Arwind Santos during the 2021 Governors’ Cup.

      He has become accustomed to playing back-up for Fajardo in his almost one-year stay with the team that Manuel admitted he’s not used to playing without frontcourt partner.

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      “First time na wala siya rito since nung dumating ako, kaya siyempre naninibago rin ako,” said the big man product of PSBA.

      But the veteran and champion team that it is, San Miguel can find a way of holding the fort until Fajardo is healthy enough to play again for the team, according to Manuel.

      “Yes, nag-struggle kami nung nawala si June Mar, pero alam naman namin na kayang manalo ng team kung wala siya,” he added.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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