SAN Miguel Beer’s Fil-Italian guard Chris Banchero on Tuesday began the process of legitimizing his claim to Filipino citizenship as he sets his sights on the PBA rookie draft.
Banchero, the Finals MVP during the Beermen's run to the ABL title this season, was accompanied by his agent Matthew Manotoc to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation office in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday as he worked to put his citizenship papers in order.
After Banchero sorts out his citizenship, the 24-year-old guard has to play at least two conferences in the PBA D-League to be eligible for the draft as required by PBA rules of Fil-foreign players below the 25 years old.
“Nothing’s final yet for the D-League but he’s looking at juggling the schedule with D-League and ABL (Asean Basketball League). But we’ll see,” Manotoc told Spin.ph.
Manotoc’s business partner, Marvin Espiritu, said they will hold a series of talks with San Miguel Beer to discuss Banchero’s future with the ABL team.
“Kasi kung maglalaro siya sa D-League, maaring mag-overlap ang schedule dun with the ABL. Ang ABL kasi magsisimula sa January,” Espiritu noted.
Blackwater, the recent PBA D-League Foundations Cup champion, has shown interest in acquiring the cat-quick San Miguel guard.
But with the PBA D-League set to come up with a first-ever draft, the chance of Blackwater signing Banchero directly appears dim.
The 6-foot-1 Banchero was named Finals MVP recently after helping lift the Beermen to a three-game sweep of the Indonesia Warriors in the ABL title series.
Banchero, who played college basketball at Seattle Pacific University, a US NCAA division II School, was born to an Italian father and Filipino mother, the former Jacqueline Guerrero.
He grew up with his Filipino mother, grandmother, and younger brother in Seattle, before eventually playing for the Beermen in the ABL last year.