After being out for nearly six months, Vic Manuel has returned Wednesday evening, when his Alaska Aces fought the debuting Magnolia Hotshots in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
And it was a return worth savoring.
Manuel saw action for eight minutes and 48 seconds, producing six points and a rebound as the Milkmen obliterated the John Fields-reinforced Hotshots, 103-80, to improve to 3-2 in the mid-season tilt.
“It’s great to see him in uniform,” gladly said Alaska head coach Alex Compton.
Compton was clearly all smiles now that his prized forward has come back. For the seasoned mentor, having a “game-changer” like that of Manuel will definitely make Alaska better again.
“Vic is a game-changer,” he said of Manuel, who last played in Game Five of the 2018 Governors’ Cup Finals.
“This conference last year, he’s averaging twenty-three pts in twenty-three minutes. Guys like that make coaches look good. It looks, ‘Oh, great execution.’ No. That guy is just really good,” Compton added.
“He got the ball and he was really good. Vic gives us a completely different option. We’re missing his scoring punch.”
Compton, however, made it clear that the Aces are not going to rush things with Manuel. Their main concern right now is to keep the bruising 6-foot-4 forward as healthy as possible.
“He is way too valuable for us to rush him and make the same mistake we did with Chris Banchero,” said Compton, as a then-hurt Banchero played long minutes in their conference opener last May 19.
“Nagiging maskulado talaga si Muscle Man. What happens when you come back from a long time off, and you just start practicing… We wanna make sure he’s doing all the work and doing good.”
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