DAVAO CITY — Gab Banal was all frustration in the second half of their 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan South semifinals bout against third seed Basilan-Jumbo Plastic.
With 1:19 left in the second period, Banal had a collision with Steel’s Allyn Bulanadi, injuring his left knee and causing him to leave the game. He was unable to come back in the second half, with his knee wrapped.
“Frustrating kasi ten months namin pinaghandaan itong playoffs tapos hindi ako makatulong sa teammates ko.”
With second-seed Bacoor’s main gunner out, Basilan pounced, clobbering the Strikers, 77-63, Monday at the RMC Petrogazz Arena here.
The Strikers really felt the missing 14.12 points, 6.16 rebounds and 5.84 assists that the reigning MVP averages.
“Gab is probably our best facilitator. He is our gravity guy. He attracts a lot of defense. Losing him early, we were beaten in probably every statistical category,” said Bacoor coach Chris Gavina.
But the 29-year-old Banal remains hopeful, as he did not hear something “pop” in his knee when he fell down.
“Hindi ko mai-bend ‘yung left knee ko pero I did not hear anything pop, so I would like to get the Game Two in Bacoor if payagan ng doctor.”
Banal finished with just six points on 1-of-5 clip, along with four assists against five turnovers.
But come Friday, together with the 6-foot-3 guard will be a raucous Game Two crowd on their home turf at the Strike Gym in Bacoor, Cavite as they look to even the series.
“Pinagtrabahuhan talaga namin makuha ‘yung second seed, kaya blessed kami na home court namin sa Game Two. Sana mapasaya namin ‘yung Bacoor fans.”
In the other South semis match-up, Davao Occidental-Cocolife put on a defensive clinic, outlasting Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines, 47-28.
Story by Justin Valencia
Photos by Thel Suliva