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    Offers come in but MPBL MVP Gab Banal determined to play out Strikers contract

    Apr 24, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    GAB Banal's MVP performance in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup gained him some interest from a lot of teams.

    But the 28-year-old forward is perfectly fine where he is right now.

    "Ang daming lumalapit sa akin na MPBL teams and may offers din sa PBA, but I'm happy where I am right now," he said.

    Banal was adjudged as the MVP of the MPBL Datu Cup after averaging 18.2 points on a 38-percent shooting, to go with 8.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists to lead Bacoor to the fifth seed in the South Division.

    "It means a lot to me, especially that this is my first MVP award," he said. "It's really different when you're given the confidence and the trust of management, the players, and your teammates. Because of that, umangat yung laro ko."

    Banal has been on a sensational tear since last year from his time with Go for Gold in the PBA D-League, and continued that in his travails with Manila Gilas in the 2018 Fiba 3x3 Shanghai Challenger in China, with IECO Green Warriors in the 2018 Asia League Terrific 12, and with Mighty Sports in the 2019 Dubai International Basketball Championship.

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    But through it all, the 6-foot-3 forward is happy to have been a consistent force for Bacoor as he proudly represented the city.

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    "It's different kasi you're representing the people of Cavite, the people of Bacoor. It matters more cause you have a relationship with the Bacoorenos, the owners, and the team management and it's an honor for me to play for Bacoor," said the son of coach Joel Banal.

    Banal, who is currently on vacation in Australia, said that he's keeping his door open if there's a PBA offer that blows him away. But his priority remains with the Strikers as he still has one more year left in his contract.

    "It's always a privilege to play in the PBA, and if there's an offer I can't refuse, then why not? But as of now, I'm happy with Bacoor," he said. "When I get back, I'll be ready."

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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