UAAP: Make no mistake, Encho Serrano did the work to be eligible

Danine Cruz on Sep 06, 2018 04:57 PM
UAAP: Make no mistake, Serrano did the work to be eligible
Encho Serrano is nothing but thankful to be able to continue his UAAP career (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

Two years away from the limelight he was supposed to enjoy, former UAAP Juniors star Encho Serrano is finally set to flex his muscles in the Seniors division as a De La Salle University Green Archer in Season 81.

Serrano is eligible to play as a rookie out of high school after obtaining his diploma from the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System in his hometown of Pampanga.

ALS is a community-based non-formal education program and it was Serrano’s ticket back to student-athlete life – a ticket that he had such a difficult time to earn.

"After nung Adamson [High School] ko, kailangan ko ayusin yung papers ko. Hindi ko muna inisip mag-laro. Nag-focus muna ako sa review ko kasi sobrang hirap talaga ng pagdadaanan ko sa ALS. ‘Di ko nga yata siya kaya," shared Serrano who, just like most students, acknowledged that math is a nightmare.

"Nag-take ako, minsan bagsak isa, minsan bagsak dalawa. Tapos yung last time, binigay ko na talaga lahat ng best ko, talagang buong maghapon nagre-review lang talaga ako. Pang ilang take ko na, nakapasa ako!," he said.

Then, Serrano said he could not believe his good fortune. "Tumawag yung teacher ko sa akin. Sabi sa akin 'Uy, Serrano congrats!' So sabi ko, 'Saan po?' Sabi kasama ako sa mga pumasa sa exam tapos ayun iyak ako nang iyak. Nabigla talaga ako, tapos umiiyak ako," he narrated.

His tears signified a lot of things: his comeback to student-athlete life, added confidence for La Salle, and added scare for all the opponents.

Serrano was a beast in his first and only season in Adamson back in 2016.

Before his career was derailed due to ineligibility issues, he was a 58-percent shooter and posted norms of 19.3 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Now, the one-time top high school basketball player in the country has a golden opportunity to get his career back on track in La Salle.

A player described by former coach Goldwin Monteverde to be “all-heart,” Serrano has, without a doubt, a lot to offer to the Green Archers as they enter head coach Louie Gonzalez's tutelage in the post-Ben Mbala era.

"Nagtutulungan kami kasi yun nga rebuilding, halos 60 percent ng team namin, rookie. Kaya lahat kami, tinutulungan kami ng veterans namin," said the 5-foot-11 backcourt bruiser.

When the season starts, he has but one promise for his new team. "Bibigay ko lahat ng best ko. Parang every practice at sa game, 100 percent. Syempre iba yung ine-expect nila sakin, malaki daw matutulong ko. Sabi ko tatrabahuhin ko at hahabol ako sa kondisyon ko," he added.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @the9cruz.

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