MANILA, Philippines – Former Alaska head coach Alex Compton could not hide his delight at seeing Vic Manuel practice with the Gilas Pilipinas national team last Monday.
He had been invited by Gilas head coach Tim Cone to observe the team's training, and for the first time, Compton got the chance to watch his former player with the national team. Manuel, a 7-year PBA veteran, was included in Cone's 15-man pool for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
"Oh, I'm so happy for him," Compton gushed after practice.
"Karangalan 'yan eh," he pointed out. "It's everybody's desire when they grow up, to play for the Philippine team."
Compton coached Manuel in Alaska since 2014 until his resignation earlier this year, and has never been shy about touting the forward's abilities.
He believes that the "Muscle Man" has what it takes to make an impact for Gilas in the SEA Games.
"He's just like a basket waiting to happen. He steps on the floor, and you're like, if he touches it, that thing might go in. It might just graze his hand and it's gonna go in," Compton said.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Manuel will make it to the final 12-man roster that will compete in the SEA Games, even though Cone has revealed that the Alaska forward is one of his personal choices for the team.
For Compton, however, that Manuel made it to the pool is already a tremendous achievement for the 32-year-old Alaska star.
"Para kay Vic, kahit anong mangyayari, at least umabot siya dito sa practice," he said. "It's up to coach, he's still gotta make the final 12, but kahit hanggang ngayon, talagang masaya ako para sa kanya."
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