Chris Banchero allayed fears of a serious injury after hurting his hand in the Alaska Aces’ match versus the NLEX Road Warriors for the last ticket to the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals, Friday.
The 6-foot-1 guard appeared to get hurt in the second quarter. He was pulled out with 2:11 remaining in the said period, and head coach Alex Compton did not return him to the match.
But Banchero – who ended the night with four points, three rebounds, and two assists against two errors – didn’t have to worry about being unable to help his team, as the Aces won, 88-80.
“It just got chopped by [JR] Quiñahan, but I think I’d be ready to play, ready to go by Sunday. Just kinda painful right now. It’s swollen,” said Banchero, who had his right hand wrapped in ice.
“We were playing well and there’s no need for me to get back in the game. Sonny [Thoss] was playing very well. Everybody played well tonight so we got that win,” he pointed out.
Banchero and Alaska will face the top-seeded Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters this Sunday in their quarterfinal meeting, where they will look to blow up Phoenix’s twice-to-beat advantage.
“We’re basically playing ourselves, right? We got the same system, same coaches, same players,” quipped Banchero, as Phoenix has former Aces such as Louie Alas, Paolo Bugia, and Calvin Abueva.
Turning serious, Banchero is bracing for a tough match-up ahead versus the top-seeded team. Last March 1, Phoenix dealt the Milkmen a 94-80 beating in their elimination round clash.
“It’s gonna be a good battle. They’re gonna put the pressure on us full court. They had time to rest so they’ll be more prepared,” said the five-year league veteran out of Seattle Pacific.
“Hopefully, we’re gonna go uphill, continue to play good as we go into the playoffs. We know there will be three KO games, hopefully we’ll take it one game at a time, and take care of business.”