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Phoenix, NLEX show interest on Manuel

Phoenix, NLEX show interest on Manuel

MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix and NLEX are deeply interested in trade prospect Vic Manuel.

The 33-year-old Manuel has demanded Alaska to ship him elsewhere after his contract expired last Dec. 31. When asked for his preferred destination, he mentioned Phoenix, NLEX and San Miguel Beer.

Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said Manuel would be a welcome addition but maintained the team has yet to really talk about making a move for “The Muscleman.”

“I haven’t spoken to management regarding this,” Robinson told The STAR. “Well, who doesn’t want a Vic (Manuel) on their team?”

NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao also sees the upside of acquiring the bruiser but stressed that if ever, the terms of the prospective swap should be factored in.

“Yes, we are (interested) but we want to do so under reasonable conditions,” said Guiao. “We want to hear from them (Aces) first.”

For now, though, rival teams aren’t about to jump in right away on the potential Vic Manuel sweepstakes, apparently waiting for his mother squad to get the official word out.

Robinson worked with Manuel before at Alaska, where he served as assistant coach. Another former Alaska player, Calvin Abueva, is now with Phoenix, making it a possible reunion for the troika.

Manuel said he would also love to play under Guiao over at the NLEX camp. San Miguel is also an ideal destination for Manuel, who’s excited to team up with his friend, Arwind Santos.

The Aces, according to PBA Rush, are “weighing their options” on the Manuel situation. Management has offered the former PSBA standout a two-year max contract with a clause on the second year but Manuel rejected it, saying he didn’t want to play for Alaska anymore.

If Alaska puts Manuel on the trading block, the Aces are expected to ask for a marquee player in return.

Meanwhile, the Meralco Bolts yesterday gave 42-year-old veteran Reynel Hugnatan, Noy Baclao and Jamer Jamito contract extensions, according to team manager Paolo Trillo.

Hugnatan is one of only six active players in the PBA who over 40 years. But the pride of Bacolod, a first-round draft pick in 2003, remains a force to reckon with inside and out. Terms of his contract extension were not divulged.

Baclao, 33, inked a new one-year deal.