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Hurting Banchero delivers impressive performance in honor of late best friend.

It seemed like just another day at work for Chris Banchero.

Alaska's combo guard was his usual hustling self, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, in the Aces' 109-103 victory over the Batang Pier in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

Banchero, however, wasn't only fighting the Batang Pier but he was also pushing through the grief of losing his best friend Mike De Rossi who passed away on Thursday.

'It's been a tough week for me. It's been tough man, he was like a brother to me,' said Banchero who held back tears when talking to the media Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. 'I knew he was looking down on me today. I'm happy we got the win for him tonight, he's an incredible guy and I'm going to miss him a lot.'

Aces head coach Alex Compton said Banchero was in Seattle to be the best man to former teammate's Josh Vanlandingham's wedding and didn't learn of De Rossi's passing until he arrived in the Philippines.

'It's really tough for him, I know it's particularly tough because he didn't make the funeral,' said Compton. 'Life's bigger than basketball, I fell in love with the game since I was a kid and some people say basketball is life, I disagree, I wholeheartedly disagree.'

'There are things much bigger than basketball so I told Chris before the game to honor his best friend and he honored him by the way he played,' added Compton. 'I'm really proud of Chris for fighting through that.'

Banchero, who helped his team to a 5-1 record, was thankful for the game as he had a way of channeling his emotions.

'It's been tough every day, but once I get to the court basketball is one way for me to get my mind off of it,' said Banchero. 'It always comes back but it was good to get out there and play.'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 2, 2018
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