THE sight of an injury-plagued and outplayed Alaska team falling to a 0-3 deficit in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals was too much to bear for Vic Manuel - the reason he tried to join the Aces in practice on Thursday, hoping against hope that he can play in do-or-die Game Four.
The moment he stepped on the floor, Manuel knew the answer.
“Ang sakit sa loob ko na makitang kulang kulang kami, tapos wala kaming maisagot sa kalaban, kahit sa rebound overpowered kami. Hindi ko matanggap sa sarili ko na naka-upo lang ako sa bench, para akong inutil,” said Manuel, who has been sidelined by a strained right calf muscle since the quarterfinals.
“Kaya pinilit ko sumama sa ensayo kahapon, desidido talaga akong bumalik sa Game Four,” he added.
Problem was, the injury just won't lt him.
“Pagpasok ko sa court, may pumitik na naman sa muscle. Ganito yung nangyari sa akin nung ma-injure siya, nag free-freethrow lang ako, pag atras ko may nag snap,” he said.
“Pagtingin ng therapist namin, sinabi nga na di talaga ako pwede. Hindi ko pwedeng pilitin, mas mahihirapan ako kung pupwersahin ko,” added the workhorse from Licab, Nueva Ecija.
The former PSBA Jaguars star was told to rest for two months to allow his torn calf muscle to fully heal, which was simply unacceptable for Manuel at a time when Alaska could use a lift against a RoS side that has been dominating the paint in the series.
“Hindi ko kaya eh, parang nasa gyera kami na hindi man lang ako nakakatulong,” he said.
“Hindi ko kayang makita yung pagdurusa ng mga kakampi, kulang kami sa tao, dominated kami sa lahat, kahit sa rebound,” added the 6-3 undersized power forward, who has been sidelined for the last three weeks now.
Aside from Manuel, JV Casio (swollen knee) and Eric Menk (shin injury) are sidelined by injuries while star forward Calvin Abueva is playing through an ankle pain, which he sustained in Game One of the finals.
Manuel is hoping for the best, but knows the odds are stacked against them.
“Lagi na lang kaming first runner-up, kaya mas masakit. Pero di kami nawawalan ng pag-asa,” Manuel said.