Nueva Ecija continued its signing spree early this week.
The Rice Vanguards have inked Gab Banal for the fourth season of the league backed by Chooks-to-Go.
Head coach Charles Tiu confirmed the development.
“It’s a very big coup for us,” said Tiu, who handled Banal in the past in Mighty Sports and Go for Gold. “He was a former MVP in our league and is a very good leader.
“His work ethic is tremendous and he can do so many different things offensively, giving us versatility,” he continued about the 6-foot-3 swingman.
“He’s one guy we’ve always wanted and finally it can happen.”
Banal spent his first two years in the league with Bacoor City.
During the Datu Cup, Banal posted norms of 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists to win the Most Valuable Player plum. The Strikers made it to the semis before being swept by Davao Occidental in the South semis.
In the Lakan Cup, Banal had averages of 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per contest, once again leading Bacoor to the semis.
However, a sprained left MCL made Banal miss Games Two and Three of the Strikers’ series against Basilan. The Steel ended up advancing to the division finals.
Banal remains grateful to Bacoor City for the two years he spent there.
“Thank you for two great years of fun memories and experiences,” the 29-year-old expressed. “Thank you Chaye Cabal-Revilla and Cong Strike Revilla for treating me as your own. Thank you to the awesome people of Bacoor for your undying support.
“Bacoor City will always be in my heart.”
Also signing with Nueva Ecija is homegrown Edzel Mag-isa, formerly of Muntinlupa. The 6-foot-5 big man averaged 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds last season.
Banal and Mag-isa join the Gomez de Liaño brothers, Juan and Javi, and Renz Palma as the acquisitions so far of Nueva Ecija.
Nueva Ecija posted a 10-20 record during the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season, finishing 11th in the Northern Division.
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