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Banchero tops Gatorade PBA Draft Combine sports tests

Chris Banchero (left) and Kevin Alas side by side in the Shuttle Run Test at the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine.

MANILA, Philippines -- “Hindi naman namin makukuhayan,” joked KIA assistant coach Louie Gonzales when informed that 25-year-old Fil-American guard Chris Banchero topped all five of the tests of Day One of the 2014 Gatorade PBA Draft Combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center at Mandaluyong City. “Kaya iba na lang papanoorin namin.”

Banchero, a Seattle, Washington native, topped the Shuttle Run Test (in 16.87 seconds), Three Quarter Court Sprint (2.91 minutes), Standing Vertical Leap (33.73 inches), Maximum Vertical Leap (68.32 inches) and the Lane Agility Drill (8.33 seconds).

“That’s pretty impressive,” noted Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton. “Has anyone done that?”

According to PBA officials, since the first ever Rookie Camp held in 1995 at the parking lot of the SM Megamall, no one has achieved that.

The Shuttle Run measures how fast a player moves when changing directions. The Three Quarter Court Sprint measures the amount of time it takes for a player to sprint the distance of three quarters of a basketball court. The Standing Vertical and Maximum Vertical Leaps measure the height of a player’s vertical leap from a standing and a running position respectively. The Lane Agility Drill measures how fast a player moves around the key.

“These tests are patterned after what the National Basketball Association measures for their rookies,” said Focus Athletics Coach Mark Carron, who also serves as the strength and conditioning coach of the National University Bulldogs. “In addition to their talent and skills, the results of these tests are something that coaches can use in determining the kind of player they want to draft.”

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PBA coaches concur. “When Coach Tim Cone saw Justin Melton’s vertical leap, he drafted him,” shared one coach who requested anonymity. “Coach Tim is also a fan of athleticism.”

“I just went out and did my best,” described Banchero of his accomplishments. “I’ve been working hard everyday. I’m excited and nervous about the upcoming draft. Playing in the PBA has been a dream of mine for quite a while now.

Banchero admitted to following Ginebra and Talk ‘N Text back in the US when he learned about the PBA from his mother.

“Right now, I don’t know where I am going but I just want to be in the league and to be able to help the team I get into.”

The sports or physiological tests were conducted by the coaches of Focus Athletics and the University of Santo Tomas Sports Science Department.

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