Chris Banchero fights through grief to help lift Aces to huge win
Chris Banchero is thankful to finally get on the court and be surrounded by his second family – his team – in his time of grief. AP  

CHRIS Banchero came through with a big game despite playing hurt as he helped tow Alaska to a come-from-behind victory over GlobalPort in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Aces guard has been grieving since the passing of his best friend Mike de Rossi on Thursday.

With all the emotions of suddenly losing someone dear to him, Banchero channeled all of those feelings inside the basketball court. The 6-foot guard poured his heart out in this game and finished with 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds in their win on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Banchero was certain his best friend was watching over him in this game.

“It’s been a tough week for me. It’s been tough man. He was like a brother to me,” Banchero said as he started to choke up, trying hard to contain his emotions.

“I knew he was looking down on me today with a couple of my shots, happy we got the win for him tonight. He’s an incredible guy and I’m gonna miss him a lot,” he added.

Banchero’s courage in pulling things together earned him praises from his head coach Alex Compton.

“There are things that are much bigger than basketball so I told Chris before the game to honor him and he honored him by the way he played,” Compton said. “I’m really proud of Chris because he fought through that.”

Banchero is just thankful to finally get on the court and be surrounded by his second family – his team – in these gloomy days.

“It’s been tough every day, but once I get on to the court, basketball is one way for me to get my mind off it. It always come back but it was good to get out there and play. I’ve been out of the country, so it was good to play basketball,” Banchero said.

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“It was good to be around my teammates and my coaching staff, they’ve been there for me throughout this whole thing. It was good to be around these people when you go through like this.”

 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11