Second-generation Banals keen to uphold family's proud basketball tradition
First cousins Joel and Jonathan Banal and Frank Golla hope to follow in the footsteps of brothers Joel, Conrad, and Koy. Snow Badua

A SECOND coming of the well-known Banal family is in the horizon.

At least three players from the basketball bloodline that produced former PBA player Joel, Conrad, and Koy Banal are joining this Sunday’s PBA Annual Rookie Draft at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita.

Gab Banal, son of Joel, Koy’s child Jonathan, and Frank Golla, son of their sister Kaye, are part of the 87 hopefuls who made themselves available for the first league activity heralding its 40th season.

Conrad, Joel, and Koy stood out in the late 70s and 80s, but only Joel made it as far as the PBA. Snow Badua
Conrad, Joel, and Koy stood out in the late 70s and 80s, but only Joel made it as far as the PBA. Snow Badua

The presence of the three in this year’s rookie batch mirrored a time in the late 70s when the defunct MICAA featured the sibling rivalry between Joel and Conrad, who played for Mapua and Ateneo, before Koy entered the scene by time for San Beda and Arellano.

“Para kaming Spartan ng basketball. Ang laki ng pamilya namin, siyam kami. May mga pinsan pa kami kaya lahat halos humawak ng bola,” Joel, the eldest of the Banal siblings, told

“Kaya nagsimula ang basketball interest namin dahil `yung ancestral home namin sa Kalookan, katabi basketball court,” he said.

“Imbes na tilaok ng manok pag sa umaga, may tumalbog na bola sa court, bangon agad kami para maglaro. Ganun kami ka-addict sa basketball nun.”

Joel, who won championships both as a PBA player and coach, bared that the Banal clan can easily form up to four five-a-side teams with 20 basketball-playing members in just one outing.

“Ganun kami kadami, kaya kuyog sa amin mga dadayo sa lugar kung kumpleto kami,” he said. “May mga babae pa kami na naglalaro rin.”

Despite a huge basketball-loving family, the Banal clan still has one biggest frustration.

“Siguro yun yung hindi kami nakapaglaro sa PBA lahat,” claimed Koy, the youngest of the siblings. “Sa amin kasing tatlo na naglaro ng amateur si Joel lang ang nakapag-PBA.”

Joel rose to become of the best stoppers in the pro league, suiting up for Great Taste from 1981 to 1986.

Conrad, meanwhile, suffered a serious knee injury while playing in the MICAA after his time with the Blue Eagles, even as Koy opted to settle into a corporate job at Coca-Cola after the EDSA Revolution. Conrad is now a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“Magulo kasi sa bansa nun. Tapos nag-asawa na ako that time, kaya napwersa ako na maghanap na lang ng trabaho,” said Koy, who later on made a basketball comeback by joining elder brother Joel as part of the Mapua coaching staff.

With the second generation Banals knocking on the PBA door, Joel feels this is the perfect opportunity for the family to make its dream a reality.

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