Encho Serrano chooses MPBL over PBA after leaving Phoenix for Pampanga

Encho Serrano will no longer play in the PBA after signing with MPBL (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Encho Serrano, one of the most dynamic guards of the Phoenix Super LPG Fuelmasters, is set to leave the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and will render his services to the Pampanga Giant Lanterns currently campaigning for a title in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

The development was confirmed last May 23, 2023, as negotiation talks in extending his expiring contract came to an end when he chose to go home to Pampanga.

Serrrano is a native of Apalit, Pampanga and was once their main gunner when he helped the squad win the National Basketball League-Pilipinas title two years ago.

After his stint in the NBL, Serrano made one of the best debuts in the MPBL when he led the Basilan-Jumbo Plastic to the 2021 championship.

Phoenix will surely be missing the services of Serrano who became one of their most improved players as time went by.

Despite the absence of former franchise player Matthew Wright who signed with the Japan B. League, Serrano, together with Tyler Tio from the Ateneo de Manila University, formed one of the most efficient backcourt duos in the PBA.

Serrano also injected a different kind of energy into the young Phoenix squad and would always draw praise from his opponents after their games when he would grab a rebound against the bigs or make a game-winning steal for a coast-to-coast layup.

According to a report by Spin.ph, the Phoenix management tried to offer Serrano a new deal but the Pampanga native refused to re-sign.

Phoenix’s team manager Paolo Bugia added that their extension offer was up to two years but Serrano remained committed to joining the Lanterns.