It had been 17 years in the making, but brothers Koy and Joel Banal are reunited once again in the sidelines, this time with Marinerong Pilipino.
“I’m very comfortable with him and that’s why he’s with me. We are very comfortable with each other. I consider him not only as an elder brother but as mentor,” said Koy, the head coach for the PBA D-League newcomer.
The younger Banal didn’t hesitate to enlist the services of his older brother as a consultant, bringing memories of their partnership back with the Pasig Pirates in the now-defunct MBA.
A lot has changed in 17 years, with Koy and Joel going on separate ways and leading numerous teams to championships.
But now, they find themselves on the same boat anew, rekindling the partnership which started way back to their childhood days.
“He can say whatever he wants and I don’t mind. He’s a winning coach. He’s a winner and that’s why I won’t have a problem if he says a thing,” said Koy. “Our relationship, we grew up as best friends so we don’t have any hang-ups towards each other. I can say whatever I want and he can say whatever he wants because of or relationship and we can both accept that.”
Though the roles are set, Koy made it clear that the system he has put in place allows everyone, including Joel, to share their inputs for the greater good of the team.
“We put the boundaries. He assured me that this is my team and I run the system, and he’s just a supporting cast. But we made it a point that you can say whatever you want, and that goes even before because in the past, I encourage my assistants to get involved. I just told him to keep on sharing what’s on his mind,” he said.
And the chance excites Koy, as he gets a chance to show his older brother the fundamentals he had absorbed from him while also integrating the experiences he had in their time away from each other.
“Aside from the xs and os, what I learned from him is the leadership, which came from his faith — our faith,” he said.
For the elder Banal, he made it clear that he’s taking the back seat and allowing Koy to implement his system but still giving his brother pointers whenever he deems fit.
“He’s a respected coach who has won a lot of championships and he knows how to win so I’m just here to support what he wants. I’m just adding pointers to him because I don’t want the players to be confused with our differing styles,” he said.
Joel also believes that somewhere along the way, both their styles will find their way into the system but for now, the Seafarers have one voice to listen to as they gun for a spot in the quarterfinals in their maiden voyage in the PBA D-League.
“I think at some point, our systems are going to criss-cross. But as of the moment, the team just have to hear one voice. At some point, it’s gonna bolt in. Hopefully, we have time and we can catch the bus going to the semis or quarters. That’s all we need, a chance to get to the playoffs,” he said.
But for that to happen, Marinerong Pilipino must first find a way to build chemistry together.
“Teamwork is what we lack at the moment, but we’ll get there,” said Joel. “Everyday, that’s our goal to get closer, to be solid, and to know each other. That’s the most important thing: knowing each other.”