ILOILO—Encho Serrano may have disappointed fans after pulling out of the Slam Dunk Competition at the last minute. But he made sure to make up for it in the Greats-Stalwarts exhibition on Friday night.
The Phoenix rookie put up 40 points—the most by any player—in the showcase pitting the PBA’s finest rookies, sophomores and juniors at City of Passi Arena.
“I just gave it my best. I wasn’t thinking that this was an All-Star contest. I thought of it as a regular game,” he told reporters in Filipino on the heels of the contest which Team Greats won, 158-138.
“It’s as Commissioner (Willie Marcial) said: Give the fans something worth watching,” he added.
Serrano also lit it up from distance, hitting four triples and a long-distance shot that was worth four points. But more importantly, he had three jams that could very well offset his withdrawal from the dunk fest.
“This doesn’t come by too often,” he said. “We want to delight the fans so we just did what we could. I did my best, and that’s the result. I’m glad that I did well.”
Serrano said he was supposed to push through with the plan as a late addition to the Dunk Competition eventually won by Converge forward David Murrell. But an earlier sprain kept him from doing so.
“I was actually dressed for it. But I told ‘Comm’ that I’m not too comfortable with my sprain during the game against Meralco,” he explained.
“It’s different when you leap. I just said that I’ll pass for now. I’ll just be ready next year if I ever join the contest,” he added.