SELECTED by the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and Terrafirma Dyip, respectively, in the recent Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) rookie draft, Filipino foreign players Brian Enriquez and Joshua Munzon begin the process of finding their place and making it work with their mother teams.
Part of a record 65 rookie hopefuls picked in the draft proceedings, both incoming PBA freshmen shared that they are happy with where they landed at and excited to take on the challenge that lies ahead.
Mr. Enriquez, 25, was the first pick in the second round of the virtual rookie draft on March 14 by reigning Philippine Cup champion Barangay Ginebra.
In selecting the six-foot-three Filipino-American player, Kings coach Tim Cone said they were thinking of getting a player who could be a defensive wing stopper, similar to what former Barangay Ginebra stalwart Sol Mercado brought to the table.
The multi-titled coach said they liked what they saw in Mr. Enriquez when he got to work out with the team and grabbed at the opportunity to pick him 13th overall.
“We like his size and especially his strength plus we feel he’ll be a great teammate and chemistry guy,” Mr. Cone was quoted as saying by pba.ph of their rookie pick.
Mr. Enriquez, who was supposed to play for the University of the East as a one-and-done until the pandemic derailed his plans, appreciates the confidence given to him by the Kings and vowed to work and earn his keep in an already-loaded squad.
“I had a feeling that after my workout that there was a chance I could fall to them. Just wasn’t sure what round it would be,” said Mr. Enriquez, who played collegiate ball at William Woods University in the United States.
“I just feel blessed and grateful for the opportunity given to me by Barangay Ginebra. I’m looking forward to learning from the team and the Philippine basketball culture,” he added.
Mr. Enriquez is the second player taken by the Kings in the draft after big man Ken Holmqvist who went 12th overall.
Meanwhile, Mr. Munzon, 26, was the top overall pick in this year’s rookie draft.
In Terrafirma, the 6’4″ do-it-all player, who is also the country’s number one-ranked 3×3 baller, will be one of the key cogs bannering the regrouping Dyip.
Prior to the draft, the Dyip traded away league scoring champion CJ Perez.
Mr. Munzon said he is looking forward to beginning his PBA journey with Terrafirma and immediately went to work, joining the team in its cluster individual workouts a day after being drafted.
“Everything is positive so far. I’m looking forward to expanding my relationship with everybody,” Mr. Munzon said to the official website.
“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to be the top pick. I’m thankful my basketball journey led me up to this point. I’m ready to come and get to work,” he added.
Apart from Mr. Munzon, Terrafirma tapped big man James Laput as the eighth overall pick.
Both players were recently signed by the team to three-year contracts. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo