Manuel draws Jokic comparison from ex-Gilas coach Toroman
MANILA, Philippines – Vic Manuel turned out to be a big thorn on the Indonesia side that its coach, former Gilas Pilipinas mentor Rajko Toroman, could not help but compare him to an NBA star.
Toroman likened Manuel to Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic as he frolicked in the paint in Gilas Pilipinas' 97-70 semifinals win over Indonesia in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games on Monday, December 9.
Manuel bullied his way through the hoop, finishing with 12 points on a 6-of-8 shooting clip in just 14 minutes of play.
"You saw Manuel. Vic Manuel was like Jokic. We can't stop him inside," said Toroman, the pioneer coach of the Gilas Pilipinas program. "He was unstoppable."
The "Muscle Man" that he is, Manuel downplayed the comparison to Jokic, the pudgy yet versatile big man who made the All-NBA First Team last season.
"Jokic? Grabe naman. Mataba 'yun eh. Chubby 'yun eh," said Manuel in jest, drawing laughter from reporters.
(Jokic? That's too much. He's chubby.)
"Siguro kung maging Jokic ako, kulang na lang 'yung mga assists," he added while gesturing to be dishing out a no-look pass, a move that Jokic has perfected on the way to averaging 6.1 dimes this season.
(But if I'm going to be Jokic, I only lack the assists.)
Indonesia coach Rajko Toroman compares Vic Manuel to NBA superstar Nikola Jokic for being unstoppable inside in Gilas Pilipinas' 97-70 semifinals win.— Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) December 9, 2019
The Muscle Man that he is, Manuel says in jest: "Chubby 'yun eh." #SEAGames2019 | @dioquinodelfin pic.twitter.com/xEyKyB4fks
Kidding aside, Manuel – just like what Toroman said – has been dominant in his first official stint with Gilas Pilipinas.
He is the Philippines' leading scorer, norming 16.0 points in 4 games, also adding 4.8 points and 1.3 assists on an average of 15:16 minutes.
The thought of winning his first SEA Games gold medal has pushed Manuel to lay it all on the floor whenever coach Tim Cone calls his name.
"Syempre gusto ko makakuha, first time ko sa SEA Games tsaka sa national team. 'Yun ang main goal – makuha 'yung gold," he said.
(Of course I want to win the gold because it's my first time in the SEA Games and with the national team. That's the main goal – to win the gold.)
Manuel will realize that dream if Gilas Pilipinas beats Thailand in the winner-take-all finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday, December 10. – Rappler.com