MVP Vic Manuel ready for PBA

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Vic Manuel powered Cebuana Lhuillier to a semifinals berth before getting swept by Freego Jeans.

MANILA, Philippines—By this time, there’s no doubt he’s primed for the big league.

Vic Manuel, the unassuming but hardworking Cebuana Lhuillier forward, finally found the confidence to join this year’s PBA Rookie Draft after copping another individual honor.

Winning isn’t new for the 24-year-old Manuel, but it’s only now that he declared his intention to join the pros after capturing the Most Valuable Player award in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup Tuesday.

“I’ve decided to turn pro after this season,” Manuel said in Filipino. “I hope someone will give me a chance in the pros.”

Manuel averaged 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds to help power the Gems to a semifinal finish this conference.

“There were high expectations for us to win the championship,” said Manuel. “Next conference, I’ll just try my best again.”

In 2010, a relatively unknown Manuel clinched the MVP plum in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL).

Although many convinced him to jump to the pros while his name remained hot in the amateurs, Manuel opted to play his final year of eligibility with the Philippine School of Business Administration.

His decision didn’t go for naught.

Just last October, Manuel captured another MVP plum after powering the Jaguars to their first championship in seven years in the Universities and Colleges Athletic Association (Ucaa).

“To have another award, it’s just a bonus,” said Manuel, a Nueva Ecija native. “I’ll just continue do my best.”

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