Win or lose, Vic Manuel should be Finals MVP

Much has been written about Vic Manuel this season, and that’s huge for a guy who isn’t a product of either the UAAP or NCAA, for a guy who was never part of any national youth basketball team, and for a guy who doesn’t have pedigree of the Lastimosas, Ravenas, and Tengs of the local basketball family tree.

Still, despite his relatively humble origins, the 6-foot-4 PSBA alumnus has blossomed into one of Alaska’s most reliable big men, one of the league’s rising stars, and, at least in my limited perspective, the best player in the 2015-2016 PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

Manuel has been so good, in fact, that, even before the opening tip of what should be a Game 7 to remember, I’m already picking him to be the Finals MVP.

Whether Alaska finally and completely slays its SMB-shaped demons, or the Beermen are able to rewrite the history books by completing an unprecedented comeback from a 0-3 hole.

Win or lose, Vic Manuel is my Finals MVP.

Certainly not June Mar Fajardo. Not Marcio Lassiter. Not Arwind Santos. Not even Calvin Abueva. 

If Manuel doesn’t raise that Finals MVP trophy by the time dusk turns into dawn, that would be, at least on a purely personal level, a travesty to a hellish degree.

I mean, the Muscle Man has been the Aces’ best, most consistent player in this series. As early as Game 4, he was on-track to win the Finals MVP plum. That’s how good he has been. 

Just look at his numbers: 

Vic Manuel before the Finals: 14.6ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, 54.7 FG%, 68.7 FT%

Vic Manuel Finals stats: 20.8ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.5apg, 61.6 FG%, 73.1 FT%

Perhaps more than his sheer production, though, it has been his amazing consistency that has really shone for his team. Take a look at his production in each game:

Game 1: 24pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 2stls, 1blk, 66.7 FG%

Game 2: 18pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 2blks, 72.7 FG%

Game 3: 17pts, 7rebs, 1ast, 53.3 FG%

Game 4: 20pts, 13rebs, 2asts, 1blk, 53.8 FG%

Game 5: 25pts, 13rebs, 1ast, 61.1 FG%

Game 6: 21pts, 9rebs, 1ast, 1blk, 64.3 FG%

No fewer than 17 points in any game? No lower than 53% field goal shooting, too? Those are monster numbers by any standard. 

In comparison, here are the numbers of his closest contenders:

Calvin Abueva: 12.8ppg, 8.8rpg, 2.0apg, 37.7 FG%

Marcio Lassiter: 16.8ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, 37.5 3pt%, 40.5 FG%

Alex Cabagnot: 15.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.8apg, 41.4 3pt%, 46.9 FG%

June Mar Fajardo: 14.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0spg, 55.6 FG%

Arwind Santos: 11.0ppg, 11.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, 2.0bpg, 28.2 FG%

So, Vic Manuel, right?

There’s no two ways about it. He should be the 2015-2016 PBA Philippine Cup Finals MVP. — By Enzo Flojo