PBA: Black expects seamless transition for Banchero into Meralco role
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco’s acquisition of star point guard Chris Banchero was, arguably, one of the best free agency signings during the break of the 2021-2022 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Bolts head coach Norman Black said Banchero’s arrival into the team not only fills the void John Pinto left but it could potentially bring more firepower to the system.
Banchero was Phoenix’s top scorer this conference averaging 18 points as well as 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2.4 steals
“Our system has been simplified a lot this conference so I think it’ll be very easy for him to come in,” said Black. “The fact that he can score the basketball will help us a great deal as far as our offense is concerned.”
Banchero is already familiar playing alongside another playmaker as he’s done the same thing with Alaska, Magnolia, and Phoenix.
He’s played alongside JVee Casio in Alaska, Matthew Wright in Phoenix, and shared the floor with more than two point guards in Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon with the Hotshots.
The one-time All-Star will have a similar role with the Bolts as he’s expected to push the ball alongside Chris Newsome and Aaron Black.
“The first two games we started Aaron Black, Nards Pinto, and Chris Newsome so between the three of them we really have no problem getting the ball around,” said Black, whose Bolts have played two games so far this conference. “It’s basically having three shooting guards on the floor at one time.”
Black added that he expects to keep his team’s ball movement to maintain its league-leading pace.
The Bolts average a league-leading mark of 25 assists a game and this uptempo style also allowed them to become the best scorers on the break at 15.5 points.
“We lead the league in fast break points, so I don’t think we’ve had any problem with our point guard play so far in this conference,” said Black.
Banchero is set for his Meralco debut on Friday against NLEX when the Governors’ Cup resumes.