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Alaska’s Vic Manuel heads to Phoenix for 3 draft picks

Alaska's Vic Manuel eludes Meralco's Cliff Hodge (left) and Raymond Almazan. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)
Alaska’s Vic Manuel eludes Meralco’s Cliff Hodge (left) and Raymond Almazan. (File)

By JONAS TERRADO

Vic Manuel, who sought for a fresh start after six seasons with Alaska, finally got his wish yesterday when he was sent to Phoenix Super LPG in a trade that came almost a week after the latter parted ways with Calvin Abueva.

The PBA approved the deal that saw the Fuel Masters receiving Manuel and the Aces’ seventh and 19th overall picks in the draft slated March 14.

In return, Alaska got the sixth pick the Phoenix received from the Abueva trade, the 16th overall selection in this year’s draft, a first round choice next season and guard Brian Heruela, who was added in order for the league’s trade committee to give the deal a green light.

The trade ends a saga that began when Manuel asked for a trade after being dismayed over the way negotiations for a contract extension were going.

Manuel did reveal his preferred teams which included Phoenix since it would give him a chance to pair with good buddy and ex-Alaska teammate Abueva.

But a reunion won’t be happening since Phoenix dealt Abueva to Magnolia for Chris Banchero and two picks.

Manuel ends his seven-year stay with the team that made him into one of the best big men in the league while earning the nickname “The Muscleman.”

“My (home and my family) for almost (seven years)! Thank you (Alaska),” Manuel said on his Instagram account shortly after the trade.

Phoenix now has someone who can fill up the void left by Abueva as it hopes to continue the success it had in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble when it fell one win short of advancing to a first-ever Finals.

Coach Topex Robinson still has Matthew Wright, Justin Chua and Jason Perkins while having another talented player in Banchero.

With Manuel no longer around, the Aces also get a chance to have their own new beginning, especially since they are eager to make forward Jeron Teng as the face of the franchise.

Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso, reacting to online stories of the deal, said that Heruela could be a “blessing in disguise for us.”

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