San Miguel Beermen 100
Purefoods Star Hotshots 89


Coach Koy Banal 1_header

Coach Koy Banal looked at his Barako Bull crew, a rag-tag squad comprised of players semingly unwanted by other teams. But despite the assumption of them being looked upon as an easy assignment for the usual contenders, he begged to disagree.

“Anything is possible.”

Liam McMorrow came to the country three days before the Energy played their first game this conference. The 7-footer was just the talent Banal was looking for to man the paint for Barako Bull, despite him being younger and far more inexperienced compared to the veterans who play here as  reinforcements.

If someone had told Banal before the tourney that his squad will be unscathed after four games and be the only unbeaten team in the field,  he would’ve laughed at the notion.

But true to his mantra, anything is indeed possible.

And here we are, four games in and the Energy are lording it over with a 4-0 card.

To the soft-spoken coach, it’s a positive sign for every one in the roster that they are ready to take  the challenge head-on despite being maligned by majority of the fans.

“It’s a sign that everybody is excited on what’s happening in our team. I want to give it to the players. If one guy or two guys have an off-night, somebody will step up. Anybody can step up pag may nag-struggle sa usual scorers namin,” he said.

Banal believes that Barako Bull’s hot start this conference is no fluke, saying, “We have found the formula.”

“The combination of players on the court, the movements we had, the learnings from our campaign last conference, that was it. Everybody, when they reported to practice, they were ready. Especially JC (Intal), he walks the talk.”

The early success could also be attributed to the Energy coaching staff pinpointing their main problem, which was outside shooting.

“May big guy kami pero pag nag-collapse yung defense, wala nang tulong,” said Banal. “The coaches met and we saw our achilles heel. We were shooting bad from the three. Ngayon, we have Dylan (Ababou), JC, RR (Garcia) is in his usual self, Joseph (Yeo) can deliver, even James (Forrester) if given the opportunity. All of them can deliver because anybody can deliver.”

Banal also agreed with his players’ sentiments saying that the team has figured itself out better this time, with a lot of them already familiar with each others’ game.

“We are inspired with the Golden State Warriors. The chemistry is there even though Joseph got in only a day before our first game, but these guys are professionals. Somehow, meron kaming players who played with each other. It’s just a matter of embracing our system. Anybody can step up,” he said.

Though it’s too early, Banal knows that slowly, they are getting the respect of the other teams.
But would that be enough for Barako Bull to once again compete for a title?

For Banal, he can only utter three words.

“Anything is possible,” he said. (RL)

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