After failing to come to terms with Phoenix, Chris Banchero is taking his act to Meralco.
The 33-year old Fil-Italian guard declined a three-year offer from the Fuel Masters and automatically became an unrestricted free agent.
The Bolts, who earlier lost guard John Pinto to free agency, wasted no time and locked up the former Alaska and Magnolia playmaker to an undisclosed deal.
The Manny Pangilinan-owned franchise announced the signing on their social media accounts.
“One more reason to get excited about the PBA returning, Chris Banchero will be suiting up for the Meralco Bolts,” wrote the team on Twitter.
— Meralco Bolts (@MeralcoBolts) February 2, 2022
Meralco coach Norman Black is ecstatic with the team’s latest acquisition.
“We’re happy to have Chris join us. His experience and talent are evident, now the next step is to have him adjusted as quickly as possible. We look forward to having Chris join our next practice,” said Black.
Banchero’s stint with the Fuel Masters lasted less than a season. He was acquired by the Topex Robinson-mentored squad prior to last year’s Philippine Cup for Calvin Abueva in deal which also involved draft picks.
The 6-foot-1 former ABL Finals MVP, who was the Fuel Masters’ leading scorer in the stalled 2021 Governors’ Cup with 18 points per contest, will be reunited with Robinson, Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia, RJ Jazul and Jake Pascual.
He became the 4th player from the 2014 draft class to jump ship. Rodney Brondial left Alaska for San Miguel, John Pinto moved from Meralco to Brgy. Ginebra while Matt Ganuelas-Rosser ditched Terrafirma for TNT.