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Will dream come true for Fil-Indo?

Fil-Indonesian guard Biboy Enguio said recently it’s been his dream since he was a boy to someday play in the PBA. He’ll get the chance of his life in the PBA draft on Oct. 29. Enguio, 29, is no stranger to Philippine hoops. He saw action in two seasons for the UE varsity in the UAAP then Cobra Energy and Boracay Rum in the PBA D-League. Enguio would’ve suited up for the Marinerong Pilipino in the just-concluded PBA D-League Foundation Cup but two days before the conference started, the 6-1 guard was called up to rejoin the Indonesian national squad.

Enguio came off the bench for Indonesia in the gold medal game against the Philippines at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur last month. He scored five points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in 17:46 minutes off the bench as Gilas won, 94-55. Enguio had the third most playing minutes on the squad behind starters Christian Sitepu (29:20) and Arki Wisnu (23:26). He wound up averaging 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, hitting 50 percent from the field. Against Laos, Enguio fired 21 points on 10-of-13 field goals and against Singapore, he tallied 18 points on 7-of-9 field goals.

Enguio took over Jamarr Johnson’s slot as Indonesia’s naturalized import for the SEA Games. Ten players were retained from the Indonesian cast that lost to the Philippines, 97-64, at the SEABA Cup in Manila last May. Struck out were Johnson and Adhi Putra, replaced by Enguio and 6-7 Vincent Kosasih. The team set up training camp in Lithuania and the US to prepare for the SEA Games. 

Before the final, Enguio said he hoped Indonesia would put up a fight against Gilas. “In our viewing, we always talked about the three main guys, (Christian) Standhardinger, (Troy) Rosario and (Kiefer) Ravena,” said Enguio who attended San Roque Catholic High School in Muntinlupa and is a UE business management graduate. “Christian was a big threat with lots of experience. Troy is a good outside shooter and Kiefer was the heart of the team. They also had good young point guards in Baser Amer and Almond Vosotros who are faster than our point guards and shooters like Kevin Ferrer and Mike Tolomia. They were all difficult to guard and stop.” Tolomia did the most damage on Indonesia with 20 points on 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 triples.

Enguio said he has no preference as to which PBA team to play for. His goal is to play his best for whatever team signs him up. But he admitted that his favorite PBA teams are the Star Hotshots because of Paul Lee and Barangay Ginebra because of coach Tim Cone. Aside from Lee, the other player whom Enguio is a big fan of is James Yap. In the NBA, his idol is LeBron James.

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Reigning UAAP senior men’s basketball MVP Ben Mbala of La Salle said the other day he’s learning a lot from Cameroon national coach Antonio Carlos Barbosa of Brazil. Mbala, 22, marked his debut with the national squad in a 68-51 Cameroon loss to host Tunisia at the FIBA AfroBasket Cup last Friday. Mbala paced Cameroon with 15 points, including 2-of-4 triples, and had six rebounds in 27:51 minutes as a starter. Cameroon led, 20-12, at the end of the first period and 31-28 at the half but Tunisia levelled the count, 41-all, to start the fourth quarter then dropped a 27-10 bomb to win by 17. Mbala scored on a dunk with 2:08 left to trim the gap to 60-50 but Tunisia closed it out with an 8-1 burst. Barbosa, 72, coached the Brazilian women’s team at the Rio Olympics.

Naturalized import D. J. Strawberry failed to secure his release from mother club Besiktas Istanbul of the Turkish league and will miss the competition. Strawberry, formerly of the Phoenix Suns, joined the training camp in Sao Paolo for two weeks before he was pulled out of the team, leaving Cameroon with only 11 players for the FIBA AfroBasket Cup.

Mbala made a name for himself as a center in the UAAP but with the Cameroon team, he’s adjusting to playing the three and four positions. “I’ve been shooting over 50 percent from the three-point line,” he said. “I’m playing mostly pick and pop. Coach wants me to work on my face-up game against bigger guys but sometimes, I post up but the plays are mainly drive and kick with the five guy inside the paint.”

Mbala said during training in Sao Paolo, there was little time to hit the beaches. “We trained twice a day,” he said. “The national team had invited me to play not once but twice previously and both times, I respectfully declined because of my commitment to La Salle. Joining my national team has always been a dream ever since I started playing basketball and to miss two opportunities with them was difficult. I’m blessed to have been invited yet again this year.”

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