High-flying Vic Manuel of Cebuana Lhuillier leapt over the competition to bag Best Player of the Conference honors in the PBA Developmental League Aspirants’ Cup.
The 6’4” forward, also the current UCAA Most Valuable Player, possesses tremendous athleticism and agility uncommon for athletes his size. The former PSBA Jaguar averaged 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in the current D-League tournament. Manuel hopes these numbers are enough to catch the fancy of pro scouts as he bared his intentions of joining the Philippine Basketball Association draft later this year.
“Desidido na akong mag-pro pagtapos nito,” said Manuel, referring to his contractual obligations with Cebuana. “Sana may magbigay ng chance sa pros.”
The 24 year old first rose from obscurity two years ago when he stole the spotlight from older, more experienced players to capture the PBL MVP plum as a player of Pharex B-Complex. Vic is the final recipient of this award before the league folded. He also saw action in the PBL-Liga TOP and Liga Pilipinas while starring for the Philippine School of Business Administration in the NCRAA and UCAA.
Despite his experience in various tournaments, the Nueva Ecija native credits his stint in the PBA Developmental League, particularly with Cebuana Lhuillier, as the period in his career where he received the best exposure and training to prepare for fulfilling his dream to play in the Philippine Basketball Association.
“Malaking tulong sa akin yung pagkakataong naibigay ng paglalaro ko dito sa D-League lalo nung mapunta akong Cebuana. Mabait si coach (Luigi Trillo) at marami akong natutunan sa kanya. Nagkaroon ako ng malaking kumpyansa sa laro ko,” he revealed.
Before he makes the big leap however, Manuel is determined to make his final conference with the Gems one to remember. The top performer of the Aspirants’ Cup, disappointed by Cebuana Lhuillier’s failure to advance to the championship this time around, said he will move heaven and earth to make it happen once the D-League opens shop again in March.
“Malaki talaga ang expectations ng lahat na mapachampion ang team. Next conference gagawin kong lahat para masuklian ang tiwala ni coach at ang suporta ng management. Dagdag nalang siguro yung magkaroon ako ulit ng award, pero gagawin kong makakaya ko,” Vic declared.
Although his team was unable to compete for the Aspirants’ Cup title, Vic Manuel’s hard work and determination received a fitting tribute and Cebuana’s Gem shone the brightest in this tournament. Congratulations to the PBA Developmental League’s Best Player of the Conference!