MPBL: 'Beefed Up' Bacoor City Strikers looking to go further than Divisional Semis
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 11, 2019 04:26 PM
Reigning MVP Gab Banal gets some added help as the Bacoor City Strikers loads up on talent ahead of Lakan Cup
Considering that they were the final expansion team to be formed for the 2018-2019 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, the Bacoor City Strikers did pretty good for themselves, finishing fifth in the Southern Division to clinch a spot in the playoffs, and even going as far as the Divisional Semifinals.
There, the Strikers would fall to eventuall National Finalists Davao Occidental.
It may have not been the end to the season that they wanted, but Strikers main man Gab Banal was pretty pleased with what he saw from the team.
"It was an incredible season for me and for Bacoor City, knowing that we were the last team to be formed, and still we were able to reach the semifinals of the Southern Division," Banal told ABS-CBN Sports.
Aside from a playoff berth, Banal also earned MVP honors, finishing with 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists during the stellar season.
Now, however, Banal and the Strikers are targeting a deeper run in the post-season, and are expecting to do so, now that they've gotten more time to prepare, and they've gotten more talented.
"I guess this upcoming season, we’ve had more time to prepare. We got some new players and we have a new coach also, and the team management, the players, and the coaching staff are more determined to do better than what we did last year," Banal explained. "We had the coaching changes, the decision was made by the management, and we have some new players so that we could beef up and supplement me in terms of our system, offensively and defensively."
"I know that all the other teams beefed up also, and there are additional teams in the Southern Division also. It’s going to be tough, but we will just focus on ourselves and we will just go with the flow and mind our own thing, and see how far we can go this time around," he added.
Joining Banal on the Strikers will be ABL veteran Oping Sumalinog as well as Michael Mabulac, Ian Melecio, Paolo Castro, and Matthew Aquino, among others.
"[We've got] Oping Sumalinog, who played for the ABL, is coming back, and we have Michael Mabulac, Paolo Castro, Ian Melencio, and we have other players that we can rely on off the bench, because last year we were the worst in points off the bench," Banal detailed. "This time, because it’s a long season, I think it’s going to last 10 to 12 months, and it’s gonna be tiring so we need some players who can help us give us that relief off the bench."
Obviously, the goal for the Strikers, as with all the other teams in the MPBL, is to be able to bring home the championship at the end of the season. Banal however says that they will take the season a game at a time and the immediate goal is to improve on a daily basis.
"Of course, we’re aiming for the championship, but we’re focusing on one game at a time, and let the season flow and just take care of ourselves, we’re being specific rather than focusing right away on a task far ahead, we’re focusing on one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one possession at a time, and eventually that will build up to a win. We just have to be better every day and focus on our immediate goals and we’ll see how far it takes us."
The Bacoor Strikers open the 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup against reigning Datu Cup Champions San Juan Knights at home in Bacoor on Friday, June 14 at 9:00 PM. Catch it LIVE on S+A channel 23 and on iWant Sports