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Tiebreaker Times


Chris Banchero relishes first PBA title, sets aside past defeats to SMB

It couldn’t get any sweeter for Chris Banchero as he finally won his maiden PBA title against the same team that foiled his bid multiple times in the past.

The Filipino-Italian guard ended his decade-long wait for glory as Meralco ousted San Miguel and claimed kingship of the Season 48 Philippine Cup – giving the MVP-owned franchise its breakthrough gold as well.

Banchero made the PBA Finals four times before this conference and lost in all games, with his first three at the hands of the Beermen.

Easily the toughest of those was the 2016 Philippine Cup, where his Alaska Aces were on the wrong side of the historic ‘Beeracle’ run that saw SMB come back from a 0-3 deficit in the best-of-7 series to bag home the crown.

But for him, the fact that he finally scored his first league championship is already special in itself – regardless of what happened in the past.

“No. Not at all. Just to win my first one, it’s really special,” the 35-year-old told reporters moments after their thrilling 80-78 Game 6 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, Sunday night.

“And, on Father’s Day.”

Plus, of course, the way they won, which saw Banchero inbound the ball to Chris Newsome for what would be the clincher with 1.3 seconds left.

“And, the way we won it, too. When June Mar hit that three, that was the loudest I’ve ever heard in Araneta,” said the 10-year vet, referring to the stepback triple by June Mar Fajardo to tie the game at 78-all with 3.3 ticks to spare.

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“I looked up at the clock and I was like, ‘Oh, we got a little bit of time left.’ Three seconds, draw up a play, and, God willing, New knocked down that shot,” he added.

“I was throwing him that pass many times. So… yeah. It’s just hard to put into words. It feels like a movie – kind of.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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