Amid trade rumors, Fil-Italian rookie Banchero commited to stay with Alaska Aces
Expected to be an early pick, Chris Banchero wound up getting taken in the middle of the first round. Jerome Ascano

ALTHOUGH Fil-Italian rookie Chris Banchero said he's set to "sign with Alaska anytime soon", rumors continue to circulate that the 6-foot guard could be traded to Meralco in exchange for the Bolts’ high-flying swing man Rey Guevarra and their 2015 first round pick.

Banchero's agent, Marvin Espiritu said as far as they are concerned, the incoming freshman guard out of Seattle Pacific University is still with the Aces.

Espiritu said his ward remains committed to Alaska amid the rumors, and the cat-quick guard has actually been practicing with the Aces since being selected last month as the fifth overall pick.

"Kami, we're just waiting for (Alaska team manager) Dickie Bachmann's arrival from Spain, eh si Chris naman, he's not looking into those trade rumors dahil napa-practice pa rin siya with Alaska," Espiritu told

Espiritu in fact, mentioned that Banchero is happy to play for Alaska, a team that is rich in championship tradition, having won 14 league titles since joining Asia's firs pro league in 1986.

Banchero sees himself playing for the Aces, who are currently having their training camp with head coach Alex Compton getting assistance from former Australian juniors national coach Rob Beveridge.

Compton said Banchero is a good addition to the Aces, noting his speed and ability to penetrate to the basket as something that can add value to an Alaska squad that is in the hunt for a 15th league this next season.

"He's (Banchero) got speed, he's very quick and can really push the ball in transition," noted the American coach after the team's practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.

"I don't think that's (Banchero's speed) a secret. So those are things that we hope can work to our advantage.

Banchero's stock rose further last year after helping the San Miguel Beermen capture the 2013 Asean Basketball League title and subsequently beng named the Finals MVP.

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