Chris Banchero returns to Alaska with aplomb
MANILA, Philippines – Chris Banchero made up for lost time by churning out all-around numbers as Alaska opened the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup in the post-Calvin Abueva era.
Missing the entirety of the Aces' semifinals clash against San Miguel last conference, Banchero delivered 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in a conference-opening 80-72 win over the title contenders Meralco.
"It's good to play basketball again," Banchero told reporters after the game. "It felt good to get those first game jitters away."
The Aces badly missed the services of the 29-year-old following a personal emergency as they succumbed to the Beermen in 4 games of the best-of-5 semis affair.
But with Banchero returning, Alaska proved it is deadly when it has the two-way guard on its side as it topped a Meralco team that reached the finals of the season-ending conference in the last two years.
With the Aces trailing 33-40 at halftime, Banchero scattered 11 of his scoring output in their decisive second-half assault that saw them outscore the Bolts, 47-32, en route to the win.
Although seeming to have found his groove despite playing in his first official PBA game since the second week of July, the Filipino-Italian is not one to rest on his laurels.
"Today? Nowhere near I needed to be," he said when asked how would he rate himself. "There are a lot of things to improve. I will watch the film tomorrow. All of us can get better."
Alaska will face TNT on Sunday, August 26, at the Araneta Coliseum and Banchero will have his hands full guarding two of the league's best guards in Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo. – Rappler.com