IT seems Biboy Enguio has done enough for his Indonesian father’s country that he’s now reviving his pursuit of a dream in his Filipina mother’s homeland.
The Filipino-Indonesian cager, a member of the Indonesian team that gave the Philippines a scare in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games championship game, is back in the country – not to do the same in the Seaba championship against Gilas Pilipinas, but to boost his stock for the PBA Draft this year.
Enguio actually started to nurture his hoop dream in his mom Julieta’s country where he was born and raised as he played for University of the East in the UAAP for two years until 2011 and then for Cobra in the PBA D-League the following year.
But he decided to move to his dad Salim Lukman’s country where he became a star in the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL), winning Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year awards in the same season in 2014 when he helped Aspac Jakarta to the championship.
After being based there the last five years, the 29-year-old former Red Warrior is back in the Philippines and is set to play for Marinerong Pilipino, the newest team in the upcoming PBA D-League conference which he is using as a training ground before this year’s pro draft.
“Nag-leave muna ako dun (sa Indonesia),” Enguio said in a chat with SPIN.ph after practice on Thursday. “Ayaw ko sayangin yung opportunity. Late na rin sa akin, so kung hindi ko pa (i-pursue) yun, baka tumanda lang ako na ano, di ba? Sa PBA, ang mga nagpapa-draft, mga early 20s eh, so baka hindi ako mapansin.”
“Subok lang din ako para walang ‘what if’ pag dating ng time,” he added. “At least tinry ko. Sugal ako, ginive up ko ‘tong Indonesia.”
Still, the Indonesian basketball federation tried to call up the six-foot guard to suit up for the national team in the Seaba tournament that unfolds on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Kinukuha pa nila ako,” Enguio bared of the conversation he had less than a week ago. “Nung nakaraan lang, nagme-message pa sila sa akin, kinukuha yung copy ng passport ko tapos tanong sila kung nasaan ba ako.”
But he’s turning his back on the national team – for now – to take a shot at his PBA dream.
“Parang ginagawa ko, one step backward, two steps forward – kung mangyayari yung ‘two steps forward,’” Enguio said with a smile. “Pero syempre, stay positive naman ako.”
Since he’s in the Philippines, Enguio appears to be pledging his allegiance to his mom’s country as he was gracious enough to give a bit of scouting report on the Indonesian team that Gilas will face in the tournament that stakes a spot in the Asian qualifiers of the 2019 World Cup.
“Kilala ko sila lahat kasi nakakalaban ko sila sa pro league ng Indonesia eh,” Enguio, who also speaks fluent Bahasa, said.
“Hindi sa inaano ko sila, pero dehado kasi nakita ko yung lineup ng Gilas, talagang solid, lalo na maglalaro pa si (Andray) Blatche, di ba? Patay,” he added. “Pero siguro lalaban sila.”
Asked to compare Indonesia’s 2015 SEA Games team to the current side for the Seaba, Enguio believes it’s basically the same with the exception of naturalized player Jamarr Johnson.
“Halos same lang yung mga player na pinadala this year. Siguro ako lang nawala eh,” Enguio said. “Ang nadagdag lang yung Jamarr Johnson.”
Enguio described the 6-foot-5 Johnson as a combo forward who was named Rookie of the Year-MVP in the IBL.
“Three and four ang laro niya, medyo may shooting sa labas, pero guardable siya,” Enguio admitted. “Kasi pag sinabi nating American na black, talagang iisipin natin na magaling talaga. Pero hindi siya ganun na mai-impress ka, normal lang. Hindi mo siya pwede ikumpara kila (Stanley) Pringle.”
Apart from Johnson, veteran playmaker Mario Wuysang, who turned 38 this month, is the other player that could pose a problem for Gilas, Enguio believes.
“Kaso si Wuysang, medyo mabagal na ngayon kasi matanda na,” Enguio admitted. “Kasi nung nakalaban namin yung Gilas, binantayan siya ng mga guards natin like sila Scottie Thompson, sila Kiefer (Ravena), parang mabagal na si Wuysang para dun sa mga bata na baguhan natin eh.”
“Eh sa Indonesia, ang problema talaga namin dyan ay point guard dati, kaya no choice kami na kahit beterano, pinu-push namin si Wuysang na magtrabaho talaga kasi wala ng ibang aasahan eh,” he added. “May mga guards naman na iba, pero hindi ganun ka-skilled ni Wuysang, so talaga no choice kami.”
Still, Enguio believes Indonesia is going to be Gilas’ toughest foe in the tournament.
“Masasabi ko oo, kasi yung mga kasali dito (sa Seaba), kasali rin sa SEA Games halos eh,” Enguio said. “Eh kami yung lumaban dun eh, so siguro ganun din yung mangyayari.”