SAN Miguel Beer star point guard Chris Banchero’s bid to play for Blackwater hit a snag following the PBA D-League’s decision to institutionalize a rookie draft before the league's next conference.
Banchero had come to terms with Blackwater under an agreement the D-League side forged with San Miguel and has in fact joined the Elite in a three-game campus tour in Bacolod City last week, where he led the Elite to a 3-0 record against collegiate teams.
(For full story, see D-League's rookie draft plan stands in way of Blackwater bid to suit up Banchero)
However, a draft set on September 19 means the rights to Banchero will most likely end up with Cafe France, which got the No. 1 pick overall at the end of a managers' meeting on Friday.
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said given the agreement they already have with San Miguel Beer, the newly-crowned Asean Basketball League champion, he’s convinced that the Fil-Italian playmaker will play for no other D-League team other than with the Elite.
“Pinahiram na siya (Banchero) sa amin ng San Miguel eh. So even if he goes through the draft, di naman siya maglalaro sa team na magda-draft sa kanya,” Sy told Spin.ph on Friday.
However, the affable Blackwater big boss said he is set to meet Cafe France owner Emilio Yap III and discuss the possibility of trading for Banchero once the team drafts the ABL star. Yap III also manages the news daily Manila Bulletin.
“I plan to sit down with Emilio Yap III next Tuesday para mag-usap kami. Client din kasi kami ng Manila Bulletin eh. I don’t think they’ll mind drafting Chris, then arrange a trade with us. Mabait naman siya eh,” Sy added.
The planned D-League exposure is part of the 24-year-old Banchero’s move to hone his skills as well as use it as a stepping stone to his long-term goal of playing in the PBA.
The PBA requires Fil-foreign players still below 25 years old to put their Filipino citizenship documents in order and play at least two conferences in the D-League before becoming eligible for the PBA draft.