Chris Banchero all business as he takes on former team San Miguel, ex-coach Austria in PBA Finals
Come  Wednesday in Game One, Alaska rookie Chris Banchero will find himself going up against his former ABL teammate June Mar Fajardo and former coach Leo Austria. Jerome Ascano

ROOKIE Chris Banchero said he has nothing to prove against former team San Miguel Beer and one-time coach Leo Austria when the Alaska Aces meet the Beermen in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals starting on Wednesday.

And neither does he finds it weird going up in a best-of-seven title series against the very same team he helped win an Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship almost two years ago.

The 25-year-old Fil-Italian guard said he’s looking forward to going up against the top-seeded Beermen in a titular showdown which he expects is going to be ‘fun.’

“Yeah I’m going up against my old coach so this should be fun,” said Banchero shortly after the Aces wrapped up their best-of-seven semis series against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters with a 79-76 win in Game Six on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

[See Alaska rides late Hontiveros explosion to oust Rain or Shine, reach PBA Finals]

Alaska won the series, 4-2, with Banchero contributing two points and five rebounds in 15 minutes of play during the series-clinching win.

It will be the first time Banchero will be up against Austria, June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen since collectively winning together the ABL championship in 2013 with a 3-0 sweep of Stanley Pringle and the Indonesia Warriors.

San Miguel actually had a chance to tab Banchero in the first round of last year’s PBA Rookie Draft, but opted to used its No. 3 pick on Ronald Pascual instead.

Banchero ended up with Alaska as the fifth overall pick.

Still, the good-looking guard said he harbors no ill feelings toward the San Miguel franchise despite the seeming snob.

“I’m not thinking about that. I’ll just do my job with Alaska. Hopefully, we’ll come out to win,” said Banchero.


Despite belonging to rival camps, the former ABL Finals Most Valuable Player said he remains in constant communication with Fajardo and especially Austria.

“Every time I see him (Austria) we always have a good laugh talking to him. And he’s a great coach as well,” said Banchero.

Come the finals though, it will be all business between him and the rest of the Beermen.

“No, not at all. There wouldn’t be any laughs,” Banchero stressed.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos