Out of the sidelines for almost a year, coach Koy Banal admits that he’s a bit anxious going back to his old gig.
“There’s a bit of rust, but it should not be an excuse,” said the veteran mentor.
Luckily for Banal, he’ll have familiar faces by his side led by his brother Joel who will serve as a consultant as Marinerong Pilipino opens its 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup campaign on Tuesday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.
However, Banal’s former buddies aren’t just limited to his side, as he is set to engage on a coaching duel against his former deputy and now Batangas coach Eric Gonzales.
“Coach Eric is a champion coach and more or less, he knows my style. He’s been my assistant for a long time in Arellano and we go way, way back. That’s one thing where my anxiety also roots from and he knows how to lead his team and motivate his players,” he said.
Banal will lean on Achie Iñigo, Julian Sargent, and veteran Mark Isip to lead the fight for the Seafarers in the 5 p.m. duel.
For his part, Gonzales admits that he has had his fair share of lessons from Banal that he’s imparting to his wards, saying, “He always told us that the will to win is important but the will to prepare is vital. We’re still a rookie team and coach Koy’s team is built on veterans so we’re just hoping for the best.”
Joseph Sedurifa and CJ Isit will banner Batangas in the conference-opener.
In the first game, Centro Escolar University starts its buildup for the collegiate season, this time under coach Yong Garcia, as it braces for the challenge of the always-dangerous Wangs Basketball in the game, which tips off at 3 p.m.
Games Tuesday(JCSGO Gym, Cubao)
3 p.m. – CEU vs Wangs Basketball
5 p.m. – Batangas vs Marinerong Pilipino