PATIENCE paid off well for Gab Banal.
Two years ago, the former PBA D-League Finals MVP received an offer from the TNT Tropang Giga that would have paved the way for his return in Asia's first play for pay league.
But Banal, who was playing in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) at the time, turned it down because an MPBL ruling prevents its players from transferring to another league while the season is on-going.
Banal said that TNT was still willing to sign him up during the off season, but his injury got in the way.
To his recollection, Banal added that he never had a year as busy as 2019 that saw him literally hop from one league to the other.
"I would play in the PBA D-League and then rush to the MPBL for night game. There was a time when I would play four games in a day. I thought that experience helped me to become a better player because of the different competitions, different environments and different schemes I encountered," said Banal, named Finals MVP when Go-For-Gold won the championship in the D-League.
Banal was playing for Nueva Ecija in the 3x3 bubble tournament when he received a call, this time from Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso, asking him if he wants to join the Aces in their individual workout and skills training.
Well, that phone call eventually led to a contract signing with the Aces for Banal, the 22nd pick overall in the 2014 draft and played from 2015-17 for the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
"With God's grace and hard work I was given this opportunity to come back to the PBA," Banal said. (RJ)