EVEN with his bright orange uniform turning red due to heavy perspiration inside the humid Arellano gym on Tuesday when he played his debut game in the PBA D-League, Chris Banchero doesn’t mind.
“It’s still basketball,” stressed the Fil-Italian guard.
Whether playing in an oven-hot gym or a state-of-the-art arena, Banchero vowed to put even more work for Boracay Rum as he intends to turn his stint in the league a fruitful one and not just a pitstop before he heads over to the PBA.
“I’m trying to win a championship,” he said.
The former San Miguel Beer stalwart in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) had an impressive D-League debut after churning out 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the Waves’ 86-59 rout of Derulo Accelero.
But Banchero deflected the credit in Boracay’s 27-point win as he vowed to be a team player in helping the Waves’ bid for a first-ever league championship.
“You have to get the team involved to win a championship,” said Banchero, who was adjudged Finals MVP when the Beermen won the ABL title against the Indonesia Warriors last June.
“It’s not just about me. It’s about everybody on the team, from one to 12. Everybody has got to be part of the game.”
After scoring seven points in the first quarter, Banchero began to look for his teammates more often, even connecting on two back-to-back assists to Gerald Bautista that led to three-pointers during the pivotal third quarter that gave the Waves a huge lead entering the final canto.
Boracay Rum assistant coach Bert Flores was impressed with Banchero’s first game.
They Said It!
“I’m trying to win a championship." - Chris Banchero, Boracay Rum starting point guard
“Dinala niya ‘yung team. Sabi ko nga sa kanya, more on assists siya. Okay naman. Pero ang importante, dumedepensa siya,” said Flores.
“We had a great third quarter. We opened the game right off the bat. Everybody played a great, all-around game,” added Banchero.
The 22-year-old point guard is glad he’s learning the ropes in the D-League in preparation for realizing his dream of playing in the PBA.
“D-League is a good experience. It’s very physical. Boracay Rum is a great organization and a great team. I’m happy to be here,” he said.
The good-looking point guard admitted he’s coping with the adjustment of playing from the ABL to the D-League.
“The environment is very different. It’s very physical but at the end of the day, we are still playing basketball regardless of what country or where I play. It’s basketball,” said Banchero.
He also loves the fact his teammates are also trying to gain a shot of playing in the pro league, a scenario that was quite different when he was still with the Beermen.
“San Miguel has a lot of PBA guys. Boracay is full of PBA hopefuls. I really like it because everybody has a lot of energy. Everybody wants to make it to the next level.”