Imus, Cavite—January 2020—For some, playing basketball may seem just a game to play, but in reality, it takes a lot of sweat, courage, passion, and commitment to gain strides and bring the team to triumph.
Take it from Gab Banal, one of today’s local basketball scene’s beasts.
Defining the Game
For Gab Banal, a former Mapua Cardinal, PBA-D League MVP, former FIBA 3x3 representative, and now MPBL’s two-time Most Valuable Player, basketball has always been a personal love. His years mainly consisted of playing the ball game budded to such milestones a player can only dream off.
“Playing Basketball always has been close to my heart. That love turned to passion, and led me to dream to strive continuously to improve and better myself every time I step in the hard-court,” said Banal.
Gab has been in various professional leagues and, his mindset has always been aimed towards winning after the buzzer sounds. “The will to win has got me going from the very start. It also made me beat the weaknesses and grow the strengths that got me where I am now,” said Banal.
Gab does his training and drills at Sante Fitness Lab (SFL) – a premier one-stop fitness center that offers holistic training programs, as well as innovative recovery and sports rehabilitation. He considers this training and fitness center as his game-changer for an elite game level.
“Sante Fitness Lab delivers me the right fitness regimen for keeping-up my A-game. The Equipment is leveled world-class that supplements my work-outs. And with my training and drills, SFL has got me covered with a tailor-fitted program helping me improve and intensify my performance. The recovery program also has been my edge, helping me be back on the court stronger and better amid a physically tolling game,” added Banal.
More for Banal
Gab is soaring, once more, in the court to dominate the MPBL, being one of the frontrunners of the Bacoor Strikers.
As he lives his dream under the hoop, his basketball-enriched journey was not easy. But through sheer will and unwavering dedication, he found his footing to become one of the Philippine-based league’s supreme.
The chase of happiness was not impossible after all and, the saying, “hard work beats talent when talent fails the hard work,” sums it up.
“To all aspiring basketball players out there, you need to work hard but work smarter. Develop all your aspects, not only as a player but also as a person. Work on your mental, spiritual, and physical health. Do what you love. Be passionate and never stop chasing that dream of playing hoops,” said Banal.
Rising to the top
Despite the limelight and the crowd's deafening chants during the game, basketball can be a bit tough yet sweet, especially when you live in a basketball-loving country. Undisputed professional leagues emerged as a high-paced and high-action competition, where the best players compete.
Banal used to play sparingly in the PBA, which, arguably, the country’s highest-level league, but it was in other competitions that he proved his might even more. To name a few, he was one of those who represented the country for tournaments like the Asia League, FIBA 3x3 Challenger, and the William Jones Cup.
“Basketball is a tough competition. To compete, you need to put yourself to a certain level—100 percent, or even more. The battle of wit and grit made me fall in love with it. The adrenaline in the dying minutes, the battle of heart and physicality, and the responsibility to take my team to the next level also serve as my fuel," said Banal.
Doing the Drills
With the sport being a physically-taxing feat, he needs the right physicality to ace the competition and delivers his A-game.
“On and off the court, I make sure that I do work-outs and exercises with no wasted movements or energy. I simulate it to the game, boosting my confidence since I know I am equipped enough,” said Banal.