Brian Enriquez was one of the surprises in the last Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft.
A mystery man going into the proceedings acknowledged by coaches as one of the deepest in years, nothing was known of the Filipino-American other than he was supposed to backstop University of the East on a one-and-done stint this year. Now, everyone knows Enriquez as the Gin Kings’ first pick in the second round—the 13th selection overall who shocked the team’s legion of loyal fans.
And if he can have his way, Enriquez is hoping that the surprises do not end there.
The 6-foot-3 guard out of William Woods University is looking to crack Tim Cone’s roster that is stacked with hardened and tested guards.
“I believe in the work I put in. Whatever role the staff presents me, I’ll embrace it,” he told the Inquirer.
If anything, Enriquez need not look far for a blueprint—as it’s something that has been proven possible by both Scottie Thompson and Arvin Tolentino during their respective rookie years. However, doing so should be a steep climb, as he is set to jockey for position with seven other players—a number way more than what Thompson and Tolentino had to deal with.
But Enriquez is unfazed.
“I’m willing to earn it the harder way,” he said. “I’m navigating it by controlling what I can control. I will do the necessary work day in and day out.”
“If I do that I can live with all the results,” added the 25-year-old guard, who was picked after another under-the-radar prospect in big man Ken Holmqvist.
It’s a risk the California-born Enriquez hopes would pay off, one that would validate a gamble he took at the height of last year’s disruptions brought on by the pandemic.
“I always knew after college in the States I wanted to test the waters here in the Philippines,” he said. “With all the uncertainties around the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) season, I didn’t want to risk sitting out another year. So my family and I thought it was best for me to make the jump into the PBA.”
“I prayed to be in a situation like this. There is nothing else I can ask for,” he added. INQ
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