VIC Manuel showed he can still thrive in an import-loaded conference, starring for Alaska in its 93-74 blowout of Blackwater on Sunday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
His minutes expected to take a hit with import Tony Campbell playing the same power-forward position as him, Manuel made the most of his playing time against the Elite, firing a career-high 27 points in just 18 minutes.
“Every game ready lang ako ipasok ni coach kasi nga alam ko yung playing tine ko medyo limited ngayon, kasi may import kami,” Manuel said. “Ready lang ako maglaro every time na ipapasok niya 'ko.”
In their opening game, the Muscleman contributed 12 points in 17 minutes in their 109-103 overtime loss to Rain or Shine last Friday.
Getting less defensive attention and playing time seems to even do more good to Manuel.
“Yung playing time namin ‘di ma-balance dahil nga malalaki yung import ngayon di ba? So yun, (pero) medyo fresh pa 'ko kaya readyng-ready ako maglaro ngayon,” said Manuel, who turns 31 on June 18.
Aces coach Alex Compton is hardly surprised that Manuel can score in bunches as he is proving to be Alaska’s Sixth Man this conference.
“Vic is just a scorer,” Compton said. “I think we’ve all seen it - he’s just got an uncanny knack for making shots. Sa end ng third? Wala namang anggulo eh. Parang yun yung tira na sinasabi ng coach na ‘Bakit? Ang galing mo.’”
“He’s got an uncanny control of the ball, even if his body is going sideways, going against bigger guys. He was fantastic,” he added.
Manuel, though, is also trying to prove that he can make a name on the other end of the floor.
“Lagi ako niloloko ni coach Alex, sinasabi niya sa akin na mahiyain nga raw ako tumira,” Manuel said with a chuckle. “Lagi niya ko sinasabihan ng ganon. Shempre pinapakita ko rin na kaya kong dumipensa ‘di ba, di lang yung scoring kaya ko ipakita, shempre yung depensa rin.”
But that won’t stop him from leading their offensive attack.
“Siguro hindi pa rin, kasi titira at titira pa rin ako e, kahit anong sabihin niya. Nasa option naman ako pagdating sa scoring,” Manuel said.