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“Muscle Man” now with Phoenix

Vic Manuel
Manuel in action. PBA photo

VIC Manuel, the “Muscle Man” will now be with the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel in the coming 46th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

In a two-team trade already approved by the PBA office yesterday, Alaska Milk sent Manuel to Phoenix in exchange for veteran guard Brian Heruela and three draft picks in the March 14 PBA draft.

The draft picks are the Fuel Masters’ 2020 first and second round picks (No. 6 in the first round from Magnolia and No. 4 in the second round from NLEX) as well as its 2021 first round pick.

Aside from Manuel, Alaska also gave up its first and second round picks (No. 7 overall in the first round and No. 7 in the second round).

The blockbuster trade ended the standoff between Alaska and Manuel.

The 33-year-old power-forward from Nueva Ecija, who averaged 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Aces in the PBA Philippine Cup in Clark last year, openly demanded a trade following a disagreement with Alaska management last month.

After making his trade request, Manuel listed Phoenix as one of his favored destinations.

With Phoenix, Manuel will join a team which only recently traded away his close friend, Calvin Abueva, to Magnolia Pambansang Manok in exchange for Chris Banchero.

Phoenix will be Manuel’s fifth team since being drafted No. 9 overall by NorthPort in 2012 draft.

Manuel, who won the PBA “Mr. Quality Minutes” award in 2018, also played for Meralco and Air 21 before joining Alaska in 2014.

Heruela, on the other hand, is also joining his fifth team since entering the league as the No. 26th pick overall by Blackwater Elite in 2014.

A four-time PBA champion, the 31-year-old pride of Cebu City played for the Fuel Masters for only one conference, averaging 5.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in the Philippine Cup.

Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso later explained that Heruela was “the add-on that made the deal go through.

He may end up being a blessing in disguise for Alaska,” said Cariaso on Twitter.