May 20, 2020

Cariaso pushing Manuel to be consistent two-way player

VIC Manuel has carved a niche as Alaska Milk's newest main man, yet Aces coach Jeff Cariaso firmly believes the 6-foot-4 forward has some more to give to raise the level of his game higher and subsequently help make Alaska a better team.

Cariaso said the challenge for Manuel is to be a consistent two-way player and understand the big role he's playing in the team.

The Alaska Aces were excited about how would Manuel come out in PBA Season 45 especially coming from a stellar stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Southeast Asian Games, but the excitement was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the uncertainty of the season resumption is a challenge for everyone.

Meanwhile, Manuel is still looking forward to their return to play and embrace the role asked him to play by Cariaso.

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"I think what we can expect more from Vic is more consistency and I mean not just with the scoring," said Cariaso.

"We know he's a scorer; give him the ball and he can do wonders. What's we're challenging Vic is the other aspect. Defensively, he should understand how big a role he plays. And when I say consistency, that's what we're gonna expect from Vic playing big on both sides of the floor," Cariaso added.

The new Alaska coach, who took over from Alex Compton in the third conference last season, is determined to help Manuel boost his stock.

"If he wants to level up on what he has already established as a player, then this is the way to do it," said Cariaso.

"Malaking bagay si Vic. Malaking bagay he should understand defending, rebounding and being to understand what we're doing with the pick and role is a huge part of the overall picture," Cariaso also said.

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Manuel, a product of the PSBA Jaguars, has been a lethal weapon for Alaska at least in the last four years or since the 2015-16 campaign when he acquitted himself with the team, raising his norm to 13.7 points per game.

No wonder, he got a call from coach Tim Cone for the SEAG duty right in our backyard late last year.

And he didn't disappoint, emerging as the most consistent performer in five games played where the Nationals easily stamped their class versus Singapore, Vietnam and Myanmar in group play, Indonesia in the semis, then Thailand in the finale.

He averaged 15.6 points per game in a rousing debut as a national player. (SB)