FACING his old team, Gab Banal showed what Marinerong Pilipino-TIP is missing as he led Go for Gold to a huge win on Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
With the Engineers staging a late fightback, tying the game at 75, the 27-year-old Banal was the anchor the Scratchers latched on to, dropping five of his 24 points in the crucial stretch to push his team to victory.
Banal made it clear that he had no hard feelings parting ways with Marinerong Pilipino-TIP, as well as his father Joel, who is the team consultant, and uncle Koy, who is the head coach.
“Basically, we're just trying to be professional about it. It’s a professional thing and Marinerong Pilipino-TIP was just school-based. That’s about it,” he clarified as Marinerong Pilipino inked a partnership with the Engineers for the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
Banal made it clear that he’s all in on Go for Gold.
“I am very focused playing for Go For Gold right now. I'm trying to be in shape for them," he said after the Scratchers’ fourth consecutive win to tighten their grip at the pole position in the standings.
That focus is evident on his game, topping the squad with averages of 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.75 assists to the delight of coach Charles Tiu.
“Gab Banal has been playing great and he's actually our best player this whole conference,” the Tiu said. “I’ve known Gab for a very long time and it's nice to see him play well.”
Going 4-0 in the second conference, Go for Gold has undoubtedly cemented themselves as a favorite to snare the plum.
Banal knows there is a lot of work ahead.
"We’re just trying to play it one game at a time. We don’t want to think about the championship yet," he said.