Gab Banal, perhaps one of the best players in the amateur ranks, is making his PBA return by signing with the Alaska Aces.
Banal confirmed the move Thursday, Feb. 18, when he posted a photo on his Instagram account showing him bumping fists with Aces team governor Dickie Bachmann.
Alaska also rolled out the red carpet on Banal virtually with a graphic art that was uploaded on the team’s Facebook page.
Aces coach Jeffrey Cariaso also welcomed Banal with a tweet, saying: “Welcome to Alaska, Gab Banal.”
The 29-year-old son of multi-time champion coach Joel Banal, a former Alaska assistant and head coach, is back in the pros, four years after his last stint which was with GlobalPort.
But Banal was able to make a name for himself outside of the PBA with notable stints with Go-for-Gold in the PBA D-League, Bacoor in the MPBL, Mighty Sports in the Dubai Invitational and most recently in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 for Nueva Ecija.
He was heralded as the Finals Most Valuable Player by the PBA Press Corps for his stellar play in Go-for-Gold’s title run in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup and bagged MVP honors in the 2019 MPBL Datu Cup while with Bacoor.
Banal’s addition came after Alaska made some roster moves by parting ways with MJ Ayaay and Abel Galiguez.