CHRIS Banchero has set his sights on the PBA. But first things first, he wants to help San Miguel win an Asean Basketball League championship.
The 24-year-old has boosted his stock as a potential lottery pick in the PBA with an impressive season with the Beermen in the ABL, and he admits being dogged by questions on when he plans to make the jump.
“Yeah, I want to play in the PBA. Everybody has been asking me that,” said Banchero, a Fil-Italian guard who grew up in Seattle. “I’m in the ABL now but of course, I want to play in the PBA.”
Banchero understands that the next phase of his pro career is in the PBA and is excited to get the opportunity to play against the best Filipino players in the country.
“I watch the games and I follow the league. I know a lot of the players. It’s a great league and I can’t wait to play in the league. But right now, I’m in the ABL. As soon as I’m done here, I will go to the PBA,” he said.
On when that would be, Banchero is non-committal, insisting that his complete focus is on winning a maiden ABL championship for the Beermen in two seasons in the regional league.
“Right after I win a championship in the ABL,” said Banchero, when asked when he will apply for the PBA rookie draft.
Banchero, at least, is on course to achieving that goal. The Beermen posted the best record in the regular season and seized homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs just as Banchero returned from an injury layoff.
Banchero should be an attractive prospect for a team in need of a point guard. The peppery guard has become a strong MVP candidate in his first full season with the Beermen, averaging 16.44 points per game during the regular season.
But before teams can get their hands on him, they will have to wait while Banchero tries to take care of more pressing matters with the Beermen.
“We’ll see what happens. We will take care of business first,” he said.