PBA Governors' Cup

Chris Banchero leaves Phoenix, signs with Meralco in free agency

JR Isaga
Chris Banchero leaves Phoenix, signs with Meralco in free agency

ON THE MOVE. Chris Banchero joins his fourth team in three years.

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Chris Banchero finds himself in Meralco’s deep and balanced core rotation featuring Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan

MANILA, Philippines – After days of mulling free agency offers, former Phoenix star guard Chris Banchero is now set to join the loaded Meralco Bolts ahead of the PBA Governors’ Cup resumption on February 11, per a team announcement on Wednesday, February 2.

With this development, the Bolts have plugged back the hole at point guard left by Nard Pinto, who jumped ship to rival franchise Barangay Ginebra early in the inaugural unrestricted free agency period.

The 33-year-old Fil-Italian was in the middle of a stellar Governors’ Cup run with Phoenix before COVID-19 shut down league operations in late December 2021.

Although it was just a short, five-game span, Banchero stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 18 points, 4.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 steals, and helped the Fuel Masters to a 3-2 record, tied with the mighty San Miguel Beermen.

He now squeezes himself in head coach Norman Black’s deep and balanced core rotation featuring Chris Newsome, Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, Bong Quinto, Mac Belo, Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, Alvin Pasaol, Aaron Black, and import Tony Bishop.

Banchero now joins his fourth team in three years, as he was with the Alaska Aces until 2019, and the Magnolia Hotshots in 2020 before he was traded to Phoenix for eventual 2021 Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference Calvin Abueva. – Rappler.com