San Miguel Beermen coach Bobby Parks issued a challenge to their point guard Chris Banchero to pass the ball more often before the start of their semifinal series against the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
Banchero answered Parks' call.
Averaging only 4.8 assists in the regular season, the Fil-American Banchero dished off 15 assists to lift the Beermen to a 111-104 victory over the Dragons to claim Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinals over the weekend at the Olivarez Sports Center in Paranaque City.
Ever since he returned to the Beermen’s line-up after being sidelined for the most part of the season due to passport issues, Banchero turned to his scoring as he averaged 13.2 points a game.
But Parks felt that Banchero, being a court general, needed to dish off to his teammates more especially in the playoff run.
“What I did to Chris is that I talked to him. Because when he came back, he wanted to score. My challenge to Chris was it’s not about how many you score, show me you can give me at least 12 assists because that’s what a true point guard does,” said Parks.
Banchero exceeded Parks challenge dishing off crisp passes to their imports Nick Fazekas and Duke Crews. He also excelled on both ends of the court scoring 18 points and tallying six steals.
Banchero’s feed proved to be the difference maker in the game that saw the Dragons posing a pesky challenge to the Beermen in an effort to steal home court advantage. Malaysia shot 11 three-pointers in the game with Brian Williams and Filipino import Patrick Cabahug scoring 32 and 24 points each.
“I didn’t expect them to shoot the ball that well. Brian Williams was shooting bank shot threes. I thought that we have to do a better job on defending Cabahug because he got it going,” Parks said.
Game 2 is set on Saturday at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur where the Beermen can close the series up and advanced into the finals where they will face either the AirAsia Philippine Patriots or the Indonesia Warriors.