VIC Manuel may have to wait for a while before he can switch to jersey No. 24 for Alaska when the PBA opens its 45th season three weeks from now.
Team board of governor Richard Bachmann said changing jersey numbers not only needs the clearance of the player's mother ballclub but the league's hierarchy as well.
The Alaska official made this clear after Manuel publicly disclosed his plan to carry the No. 24 starting this Philippine Cup as a tribute to his late basketball idol Kobe Bryant.
Aside from changing his jersey number, Manuel also recently had a black mamba tatooed on his leg to honor the Los Angeles Lakers great.
Manuel wore jersey No. 87 - his tribute to his daughter, whose birthday falls on August 7 - for the Aces last season.
That same number is tattooed on his right arm.
"We understand his sentiment but we also have to clear this out with the PBA," said Bachmann.
With less than a month before the all-Filipino kicks off, Bachmann said PBA merchandise and other marketing stuff are now being readied, making it a bit too late for the Alaska stalwart to replace his jersey number.
"Possibly by the middle of the season," added Bachmann.
Manuel was among the PBA players who were vocal in expressing their grief following the sudden death of the 41-year-old Bryant in a helicopter crash along with eight others, including daughter Gigi, two weeks ago while on their way to a basketball game in Los Angeles.