If he had the power to decide where he heads next, Vic Manuel has listed three teams.
The three PBA teams he would want to join are either Phoenix Super LPG, San Miguel, and NLEX.
“Siyempre nandiyan din ang kaibigan ko na si Calvin. Iba kung maging ka-close mo ‘yan,” Manuel gushed during an interview on Sports All-In hosted by coach Beaujing Acot, his former mentor in Cebuana Lhuiller.
But it’s more than just his friendship with Abueva that makes him want to join Phoenix.
Back in 2011, Manuel, who was fresh out of graduation from Philippine School of Business Administration, was tapped by current Phoenix head coach Topex Robinson to join D-League team RnW Pacific Pipes. This was Robinson’s first-ever coaching stint.
The two were able to reunite in Alaska from 2014 to 2017 before Robinson moved to Phoenix as the deputy to Louie Alas.
And Manuel will never forget the lessons he learned from Robinson.
“Gusto ko si Coach Topex simula ng nasa Alaska pa kami. Si Coach Topex din head coach ko sa unang team na kinuha sa akin sa D-League, Pacific Pipes,” continued Manuel, the ninth overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft.
During the interview with the vodcast which is powered by SMART, Manuel, a native of Nueva Ecija, showed that he has a deep fondness with Pampaguenos.
“Before pa ako maglaro, sobrang paborito kong team ang San Miguel. Laging ko pinapanood yan, sina Coach Olsen [Racela], Danny [Ildefonso], at Dondon [Hontiveros]. Talagang sinusuportahan ko dati yan. Nakekuwento ko yan kayla Danny I at Dondon noon kasi naabutan ko sila sa Alaska,” bared Manuel.
“Tsaka kaibigan ko rin si Arwind.”
Another dream of his is to be under the tutelage of NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, another native of Pampanga.
“Noong nagsimula ako, gusto kong nang lumipat sa Rain or Shine talaga dahil kay Coach Yeng. Kasi parang pagdating ko sa PBA, yung talagang laro ko hindi ko pa nailalabas o napapakita,” said the 33-year-old, who is the 2018 PBA Mr. Quality Minutes and Order of Merit awardee.
“Favorite ko maglaro ng pick-and-roll dati e. Yun yung gusto ko maipakita ngayon. Feeling ko malalabas ni Coach Yeng yun.”
These are just dream scenarios for Manuel.
Despite being technically a free agent, Alaska still owns his rights. At the end of the day, the Aces also want a player of Manuel’s caliber in exchange.
Or maybe, Manuel can get what he had been wanting from Alaska in the coming days.