IN life, you don’t always get what you want, much like in the game of basketball. Take it from PBA journeymen Vic Manuel and Aldrech Ramos.
Pursuing a life-long dream would often require a lot of dedication, perseverance, and patience.
Even if you did things the right way like balling out from high school to college, for some reasons, some of these PBA players would get passed up and be humbled right away.
And these basketball nomads would go from one stop to another, constantly finding themselves uprooting in order to find a home and discover their identity.
“I think for some guys, it is a matter of system fit. For others, it is if they are coming into a team with established stars. While for some, it may really just take them a while to adjust on how good the players in the PBA are,” Alaska coach Alex Compton told FOX Sports Philippines.
On March 10, 2014, coincidentally, two of the PBA’s top active journeymen were traded for each other. Ramos had fallen out of the rotation in the Aces lineup despite winning the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup. Manuel, on the other hand, was seemingly gaining rhythm playing for Air21 Express right after a productive Philippine Cup.
“Vic was acquired back when Luigi Trillo was still head coach of Alaska. Luigi had coached Vic at Cebuana and recognized how talented Vic is. He has always been a talented player — he won MVP awards both in the PBL and in the D-League before joining the PBA,” Compton added.
Four years later, Manuel and Ramos appeared to have finally found a home in Alaska and Magnolia — a stable home where both of their careers would flourish.
The 6-foot-6 Ramos, one of the few stretch four players in the league, would help his team reach the finals while Manuel is in the midst of a resurgence after suffering multiple nagging injuries early on. Their positive contributions on and off court have been instrumental for both of their team’s early success in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.
“Both Vic and Aldrech have done great at Alaska and they have been an asset to every team they have been on,” said Compton.
The story of Ramos and Manuel is just a daily reminder of how tough it is being a PBA journeyman — how tough it is to bounce out from one team to another. But to their credit, they have persevered and have made significant changes to their game.
Ramos added toughness on his game alongside improving his skill set where he became one of the dependable stretch four players today.
Manuel, on the other hand, has become more efficient playing with his back to the basket. He would make the most out of the minutes given to him, scoring, rebounding and defending.
Life of a journeyman is really challenging and for Ramos and Manuel, the years spent playing with different teams had only made them better ball players, qualities that made them as marketable pieces for their respective squads.