Name: Vic Manuel
School: Philippine School of Business Administration / Luigi Trillo School of Cebuana Lhuillier Gems (PBA D-League Campus)
That’s what Vic Manuel has looked like for a while now. He’s looked ready. The PBA D-League Aspirants Cup MVP seemed to no longer fit in with his fellow amateurs. Know that awkward feeling when a college dude is the tenth guy in a high school pick-up game? You can tell from a mile away that he’s different, that he’s not the same as the others. Partly because the skill level is simply higher, but in this case, it’s mostly because Vic Manuel could pass off as his teammates’ uncle (We’ll have to check if Kevin Alas called him “Tito” in-game).
But in all seriousness, Manuel is a PBA player rolling around in the D-League. It’s time to get him out of there for everyone’s sake. He’s a thoroughbred, a stallion of an athlete. He’ll play good, honest D, avoid the rim with his head on the way up for a rebound, make the correct outlet pass, sprint downcourt like Usain freakin Bolt, catch, and slam it in your face with the ferocity of the 23-year old who cheated his birth certificate to play in the Inter-Barangay Midgets division.
Will Manuel be Rookie of the Year? That may be a reach. But will he be a serviceable, hardworking pro for years? More likely.
Projection: Mid-late first round. Ginebra’s got the 6th and the 8th. They already have one D-League MVP. Why not make it two?
Best-Case Scenario: Ranidel de Ocampo, plus the “thoroughbred, a stallion of an athlete” part.
Worst-Case Scenario: Ranidel de Ocampo, minus the “one of the best big men in the league” part.
photo c/o philstar.com