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Manuel kisses Gilas goodbye

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VIC Manuel has been dropped from the Gilas pool. / DAILY TRIBUNE file PHOTO

After missing a series of training, Vic Manuel has been dropped from the Gilas Pilipinas pool that will see action in the first window of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Gilas coach Mark Dickel said Manuel’s failure to show up in the regular practices and scrimmages prompted them to formally drop him in the team that would compete against Indonesia on 23 February at the BritAma Arena in Jakarta.

The Alaska enforcer is one of the late additions to the squad following the withdrawal of Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, Mac Belo and Matthew Wright due to various reasons.

Unfortunately for Dickel and Gilas program director Tab Baldwin, Manuel has a newborn daughter and had to juggle his time taking care of her and attending the practices of Alaska in preparation for the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup starting 8 March.

“He hasn’t been to practice and it’s hard to put him ahead of other people who have been showing up regularly,” Dickel said.

“He has a legitimate reason why he can’t be on practice, but if he just came in, it would have been a different story.”

The Kiwi mentor, a two-time Olympian who quarterbacked New Zealand in the FIBA World Championship in 2002, said Manuel could have provided defensive muscle and firepower to a Gilas team that is overflowing with young talents.

“He could have helped us a lot,” he said.

“If you look at the SEA Games and how effective he was, I think he was Gilas’ most effective player. There’s no doubt that he could have helped, but it’s something we can’t control.”

In a previous conversation, Manuel said he is a “little embarrassed” with how things pan out.

After all, Alaska trains from 12 noon to 3 p.m. while Gilas practice from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. while he attends to the needs of his newborn daughter at night.

“I’m a little embarrassed because I haven’t shown up in Gilas practice. I’m always tired because of the birth of my daughter,” he said, saying that he won’t be surprised if he would be dropped from the squad.

“I don’t know if they can still wait for me, but given the chance, I will play for them and give everything I’ve got.”

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