Banchero says job 'a lot easier' with guard-heavy Magnolia
MANILA, Philippines – Magnolia and Chris Banchero seemed to have no problems working with a guard-heavy lineup after dealing Phoenix a 97-81 beating in the PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday, November 6.
Concerns were raised when Magnolia acquired Banchero in a trade with Alaska as the team already looks loaded with 5 point guards in its roster – Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Justin Melton, and Alvin Abundo.
But the Hostshots immediately quashed those worries as Banchero came off the bench and contributed 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists to help Magnolia nail its second consecutive win and fifth overall in 9 games.
Usually a starter during his five-year stint with Alaska, Banchero looked like he did not mind playing the supporting role.
"I don't have to try and do too much because there's a lot of other guys who can create and make plays. For me, it makes my job a lot easier," Banchero said.
Magnolia even tinkered with a three-guard lineup to close the game, with Banchero joining Lee and Barroca on the floor in the last 5 minutes.
The result was impressive as Magnolia outscored Phoenix 16-8 – a stretch that saw Banchero score 6 points.
"I'm still getting used to it, so I feel brand-new," Banchero said of his new role. "It's going to take a while to get to develop that chemistry, but once that happens, I think we're going to be a really tough ball club."
For Banchero, Magnolia's defense stood out the most as the team limited Phoenix 20 points below its average production of 101.3 points.
Magnolia tops the league in points allowed, containing teams to only 90.0 points per game – a far cry from the 109.0 points allowed by Columbian.
"I think we're really tough defensively. We're going to give people a hard time. We have a lot of quick guards. It's going to be tough," Banchero said.
He added: "If we can stay in that area, that's how you win championships. Defense and rebounding is going to get the job done."
Magnolia will have its mettle tested when it tangles with league-leading NLEX at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sunday, November 10. – Rappler.com