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Serrano makes up for missing Dunk Contest by putting on show in RSJ game

PASSI CITY — Encho Serrano deemed it best not to join the 2023 PBA All-Star Slam Dunk Competition as he felt unfit due to a sprained ankle.

The Phoenix Super LPG guard was supposed to be the replacement of Jamie Malonzo when the Barangay Ginebra winger withdrew due to a nagging shoulder injury, but ultimately chose to pull out at the last minute.

From the original five, only four competed in the Skills Challenge’s banner event, with Converge’s David Murrell emerging as champion following a close finale against Blackwater counterpart and good pal Tyrus Hill.

“Dapat sasali ako,” Serrano told reporters Friday night. “Nakabihis naman ako, actually. Kaya lang, sinabihan ko rin si Comm (PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial) nung before the start, sabi ko, ‘Comm, medyo alanganin ako.'”

Serrano said that he got hurt during the Fuel Masters’ 92-86 loss to Meralco last March 5, when he accidentally stepped on the foot of KJ McDaniels.

“Kasi nga ‘yung last game against Meralco, ‘di ba na-sprain ako, naapakan ko ‘yung paa ng import nila,” said the rookie, who had 20 in that match.

“Siyempre iba pa rin ‘yun, kasi kailangan ko pa rin tumalon ng malakas.”

He may not have been able to strut his hops in the dunk contest but the Kapampangan cager still wowed the City of Passi Arena following a scintillating showing in the Rookie-Sophomores-Juniors game.

Although his Team Stalwarts bowed to Adrian Wong and Team Greats, Serrano nevertheless impressed after firing a game-high 40 points.

“Basta binigay ko rin ‘yung laro ko.

“Hindi ko naman inisip na All-Star, inisip ko pa rin na regular game ‘yun, so makikipag-compete pa rin. ‘Yun nga sinasabi ni Comm (Willie Marcial) na ibibigay natin ‘yung magandang laro sa mga nanonood,” he said.

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Still, the Slam Dunk Competition remains at the back of his mind, hoping to have another crack at it next year.

“Sabi ko hindi ko na muna gagamitin ‘yung ngayon, siguro mas paghahandaan ko na lang next year ‘pag sumali ako,” said Serrano.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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