Banal out to steer Chiefs to NCAA championship

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 18 2013 03:23 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2013 11:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Arellano U coach Koy Banal hopes to bring to Arellano U what he brought to the Far Eastern U and then San Beda before – a championship.

But Banal, who took over the coaching reins from Leo Isaac a season back, isn’t rushing things, saying his young but determined charges are willingly and painstakingly taking it one step at a time towards basketball glory.

“We have an average age of 20 years old, I’m still waiting for the commitment of two high school seniors but I have pretty much in my mind who will be in the line up this coming season,” said Banal.

“So basically, we’re a young team with a short term goal of competing while giving our players the much needed exposure and we want them to learn how to play the game the same way from start to finish.

“Of course, the long-term goal is to get into the final four in the next season and eventually give the school its first ever NCAA title,” he added.

The Chiefs will be pinning their hopes on Fil-Canadian James Forrester, who showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season last year but is expected to improve on that this year with some of his injured teammates scheduled to return.

One of them is fellow Fil-Canadian AJ Serjue, who was supposed to play in the season but a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) he suffered a couple of weeks before Season 88 started prevented him from making his much-awatied debut.

“AJ Serjue is ready to play this coming season but we don’t want to force him to practice, we want him to be really ready come the NCAA season,” said Banal.

Also expected to suit up this year after getting slowed down by various injuries are Larry Malanday, who also sustained a similar injury like Serjue.

Also expected to get big minutes this year are fast-rising guard John Pinto and big man Prince Caperal.