FORMER top PBA selection Ael Banal is suiting up for the San Juan Knights in the inaugural Filbasket season as part of a dynamic mix of veterans and collegiate studs.
Banal, 29, was the No. 1 pick in the regular 2016 PBA Rookie Draft and last played for Blackwater in the 2019 season where he played an average of 9.8 minutes in 15 games and posted 2.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.
The son of former PBA player and champion coach Joel Banal was supposed to play for Marinerong Pilipino in the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup before the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the tournament's cancellation.
The 6-foot-2 guard joins the heady veterans at San Juan, which is also parading ex-Magnolia guard Alvin Abundo, and eight-year PBA veteran Larry Rodriguez.
Knights full of confidence
Leading the young bloods is high-flying forward Rhenz Abando, who will be linking up with fellow Letran Knight Ato Ular, Mapua's Christian Bunag, Paolo Hernandez, Arvin Gamboa, Brian Lacap, and Adrian Nocum, and San Sebastian's JM Calma.
Completing the roster are former University of the Philippines guard Jun Manzo, and holdovers Jhonard Clarito, Orlan Wamar, and Joseph Ubalde, with coaches Randy Alcantara and Yong Garcia calling the shots.
The San Juan brass is beaming with optimism over a potent crew that is capable of replicating the franchise's success in the defunct MBA and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) in the Filbasket.
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