Vic Manuel eyes Game 3 return

Should his right calf injury heal soon, Alaska forward Vic Manuel hopes to rejoin the Aces come Game 3 of the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals next week against Rain or Shine.

The 6-foot-4 Manuel missed the entire semifinal series won by Alaska on Wednesday, 3-2. The Aces’ came out with a resolute defense to beat the Meralco Bolts, 76-70 in their sudden death semifinal match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Sabi nila doc, Game 3 pa kung sakali kasi inu-unti-unti pa dahil may nararamdaman pa ako. May pumupitik-pitik pa kaya kailangan pa ng pahinga,” Manuel said, pointing to his right calf.

The former PSBA Blue Jaguar forward said he has yet to touch the basketball since sustaining the injury in Game 2 of their quarterfinal series against Tropang TNT on April 19.

The good news is, Manuel has started strengthening on his right calf. And should the pain go away soon, the “Muscle Man” could possibly start joining practice this weekend.

“Ang pinaka-early na makababalik ako siguro by Sunday. Baka makasama na ako sa court,” he said.

The Aces though are heading to the Finals with an injured roster.

Playmaker JV Casio is still out with a knee injury, while veteran big man Eric Menk has missed the Aces’ last 2 semifinals game due to an injury as well.

But the 9th overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft is confident that the team’s depleted roster won’t be a hindrance for the Aces as they try to end their string of runner-up finishes.

“Sa tingin ko naman, yun na talaga kasi lahat sila gusto manalo kahit wala ako sa semis,” said Manuel.

“Nakita ko sa mga teammates ko na nag-pursige sila makarating uli sa Finals kaya ako suporta ako ng 100 percent,” he added.

Manuel is averaging 12.3 points and 4.3 rebounds this conference. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava