ARELLANO coach Koy Banal has bared plans to form a PBA D-League team made up of players from his Chiefs roster as part of their preparations for the next NCAA men’s basketball season this June.
Banal, also one of Tim Cone’s deputies at San Mig Coffee in the PBA, said he is looking for a sponsor to bankroll the team, which he hopes could join the league as early as the next D-League conference in March.
“We’re hoping na magkaroon kami ng D-League team para ma-prepare ang team ko just like what we did in FEU before,” Banal told Spin.ph on Tuesday after the weekly PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
In 2003, Banal steered the Viva Mineral Water-Far Eastern University squad, bannered by Mark Isip, Denok Miranda, and Cesar Catli, to a finals appearance in the Philippine Basketball League. The FEU nucleus of that team, which fell just a shot short of winning the PBL title, went on to lead the Tamaraws to the UAAP title the same year.
The Viva-FEU team won the PBL title the following year with a team bannered by Arwind Santos.
Banal hopes that a successful D-league stint would erase the stigma of the Chiefs’ forgettable NCAA season 88, where they finished third to last.
“We do not have the luxury of a long vacation because we were eighth in the NCAA. That’s what I told them,” Banal said. “If you want to go up, you have to give up something and that is vacation, relaxation, those extra-curricular (activities), you have to cut them off or lessen them.”
The early buildup seems to be working and the Chiefs are now in the quarterfinals of the Fr. Martin Cup with a 5-1 record, with their lone loss just a one-point overtime decision against Adamson.
Among the Chiefs’ recruits for next season are former Jose Rizal University high school standout Keith Agovida, former FEU Team B member Allen Enriquez, and Filipino-Canadian Zach Nichols.
Agovida is probably the most notable among the new faces, having once scored 82 points in a game for the Light Bombers a few years ago.
Banal hinted at more surprises in the near future.
“I’m still cooking up something so hopefully maka-form kami ng best possible lineup this coming season.”