Disgruntled forward Vic Manuel finally got his wish as Alaska dealt him to Phoenix Super LPG heading into the 46th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The 33-year-old banger joins the Fuel Masters in exchange for Brian Heruela and two draft choices — the sixth and 16th picks — in the upcoming Annual Rookie Draft on 14 March as well as the first-round pick in the 2022 draft.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office approved the deal on Tuesday, days after the Fuel Master sent enigmatic forward Calvin Abueva to Magnolia in exchange for Chris Banchero and a pair of draft choices.
No less than Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso broke the news to Manuel, saying that he would be donning the Phoenix jersey starting next season.
“Jeff called Vic to tell him that he’s now officially part of Phoenix,” Manuel’s agent, Danny Espiritu, told The Daily Tribune.
“Vic is really happy with the trade because it was really his wish. He really wants to move to a different team.”
Manuel has been the subject of trade talks since the beginning of this year after rejecting the two-year deal that the Aces were offering.
In a previous statement, Alaska governor Dickie Bachmann admitted that they were having a hard time finding a trade partner for Manuel as they were looking for a deal that would be a “win-win” deal for both parties.
Manuel stressed that he wants to join only three teams, NLEX, San Miguel Beer and Phoenix, where he would be reunited with his good friend, Abueva.
Unfortunately for him, Abueva was already traded, leaving Manuel with Matthew Wright, Justin Chua, JC Intal, Jason Perkins and Banchero as key teammates.
At Phoenix, he is tipped to provide a veteran presence for the young team that is fresh from making a serious run in the recent Philippine Cup.
“He really fits into the system of Phoenix and his experience and skills will be a great boost for the team,” Espiritu said.
Meanwhile, Cariaso was also elated to land a veteran guard in Heruela together with some young players who could help them improve.
“He (Heruela) was (an) additional add-on to make the deal go through,” Cariaso said.
“He may end up being a blessing in disguise for Alaska. He is a great kid with a tremendous work ethic.”