All that matters to Encho Serrano is the opportunity to realize his lifelong dream of playing in the PBA, regardless of which round he was picked.
The playmaker out of De La Salle was selected at 19th overall by Phoenix Super LPG in the Season 47 Draft Sunday night, which came as a surprise to some as fans and pundits alike projected him to be a first-round talent.
“Nag-pray lang ako na sana, mabigyan ng pagkakataon,” he said moments after the proceedings at the Robinsons Place Manila in Ermita.
Such expectations on Serrano were inevitable owing to his remarkable campaigns after foregoing his final year with the Green Archers in 2021.
He then represented Basilan Jumbo Plastic in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational just a week after that feat, and made sure that it will be a run to remember as he helped his side rule the tournament.
Then, of course, there’s his stint with Ginebra in the PBA 3×3, where he helped the club to a third-place finish in the Second Conference Grand Finals.
Mock drafts viewed him as a first-round selection but that didn’t happen, and he fell late in the second round. Then again, Serrano doesn’t mind at all.
“Hindi naman ako nag-expect eh. Alam ko naman na marami rin,” he said.
“Kahit anong pick pa ‘yan, kahit naman first round ka, kung hindi ka naman makakapagpakita sa training, wala rin, ‘di ba?”
Now, his sights are all set on joining the Fuel Masters right away, eager to prove his worth to the franchise that got itself a nice haul in the draft.
“Kailangan simulan, starting tomorrow na makapag-training at mabigay ‘yung best,” said the 22-year-old.
“Hindi ko sasayangin yung binigay nilang opportunity sa akin. Tatrabahuhin ko ‘yun at magiging inspirasyon sa akin yun.”
“Malaking tulong talaga si Aljun kasi since college, ‘pag kasabay ko siya, sobrang ganda ng nilalaro ko. Excited ako na makasama siya sa court.”