Encho Serrano eager to showcase his wares in NBTC All-Star Game
by rick olivares
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Last Sunday, February 26, Florencio “Encho” Serrano scrimmaged with 71 of the best high school basketball players from all over the country. At stake was a slot to the SM-National Basketball Training Center All-Star Game this coming March 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The 5’10” point guard from Adamson High School stood head and shoulders above all of them to earn a collective nod from the coaches who ran the trials. “Best player here,” declared Vic Ycasiano who coached Serrano during the scrimmages. “Ready na for college yang bata nay an.”
And post-tryouts, the kid from Pampanga saw his team win the scrimmages while being named the “Most Valuable Player” of the trials.
“Hindi siya UAAP pero okay na rin to. Happy ako,” he said holding up the certificate provided to him by SM-NBTC organizers Eric Altamirano and Alex Compton.
The forfeiture of Adamson’s matches for his lack of paperwork saw what could have been a glorious season for Serrano and Adamson end in controversy, much disappointment, and a lot of pain.
Serrano professed not to have followed the remainder of the Juniors tournament where FEU tripped National University for the crown because it was painful. “Lalo na dahil sa akin. Nahiya rin ako sa mga teammates at sa school ko,” he said with the pain still very much evident on his face.
Evan Agbong, Serrano’s Baby Falcons teammate who was also at the All-Star Game tryouts empathized. “Masakit sa amin lahat ‘to. Sana makabawi next year,” he offered. “Sayang talaga.”
Pending the submission of his complete paperwork, a UAAP source confirmed that Serrano will be allowed to suit up next year.
Right now, playing in the SM-NBTC All-Star Game allows him to play the game he dearly loves. “Excited din ako rito kasi malaking liga rin itong NBTC,” said Serrano. “Tapos may mga Fil-foreign teams na kasali at televised din. So basta maganda maipakita ko, makapagbigay lang ang ng konting karangalan sa school, sa teammates, at sa pmilya ko ay okay na. Next year na lang ulit.”
The SM-NBTC National Champion ships will be played this coming March 13-16 with teams divided up to Division One and Two. The All-Star Game will be played on March 16 and will be televised over ABS-CBN Sports and Action.