Late last year, Brian Enriquez had firmly decided to join University of the East for a one-and-done stint in the UAAP. Eight months later, he is now a Gin King.
It was an unexpected twist for the 25-year-old Filipino-American guard, as he was drafted by Ginebra as the 13th overall pick in the 2021 PBA Draft.
Even Enriquez himself felt a little surprised with how things turned out last Sunday.
“Yeah I was pretty surprised,” Enriquez told Tiebreaker Times.
“But I had a feeling that after my workout that there was a chance I could fall to them. Just wasn’t sure what round it would be.”
Enriquez is a versatile swingman who stands at 6-foot-3, but was little-known entering the draft. A quick search on the internet would show that he played and studied at William Woods University, a private school in Fulton, Missouri.
The UAAP would have been his introduction, but Season 83 was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. Same with the prelude to the draft madness, the rookie combine.
And so he had to make it big during the tryouts. There, he was able to have a quick chat with decorated head coach Tim Cone.
It was love at first sight, to say the least.
“I’m really excited to be part of such a winning culture.
“Coach Tim Cone is one of the best to ever do it, so getting to pick his brain every day can only help me grow as a player and also as a person,” gushed Enriquez.
Enriquez admits he knows little about Philippine basketball save for watching a few Ginebra games. But he admires the likes of LA Tenorio, Jared Dillinger, and Joe Devance.
Another thing he admires is the One Ginebra Nation and its ‘Never Say Die’ culture. With that, he needs to brush on a lot.
“I don’t know much about it but I do know it’s a proven culture. Back-to-back championships is a tough task for any team.”
Everything might have ended well for Enriquez. But of course, there’s a part of him that will always look back on his “lost year.”
“I wouldn’t say it was worth skipping because I do wish I could have gotten a season in with Coach Jack [Santiago] and Coach Jamike [Jarin] in UE, but I do understand that life throws things at you and it’s your job to adapt and grow. I’m grateful for how everything turned out but a part of me wonders what could have been.”