FROM crashing Rashawn McCarthy's couch in his condo, Dallas Serrano is looking to reunite with his best friend in the PBA.
"Rashawn introduced me to possibly playing as a pro in the Philippines and this past summer, he let me sleep in his couch so I can try out for teams," said Serrano, one of 97 hopefuls hoping to have their names called in the PBA Rookie Draft.
McCarthy, a mainstay at Terafirma, and Serrano grew up in New York and studied there before taking diverging paths.
As McCarthy went to Nassau Community College and graduated in Old Westbury before taking his act to the PBA D-League, Serrano went to Newbury College and briefly transferred to Queens College before coming back, remaining Stateside and showing his wares in recreational leagues against players with Filipino descent.
"There are two leagues here in the States, the PIBNA (Philippine Intercity Basketball of North America) and NABA (North American Basketball Association) where the best of best Fil-Ams play against each other. And not to brag, but I won five championships there," he said.
Years later, here is Serrano looking to thread the same path his best friend McCarthy took.
At 27 years old, Serrano comes in as one of the relatively more matured aspirants in this year's field - one that he admits works in his favor.
"I know my window is closing on becoming a pro. But when I look at the PBA, it is an older league and a more mature league, and I just believe this is my time where I can tell my story," he said. "I haven’t had many opportunities to showcase my talent, but with the rules being different, I’m excited that I can enter this draft."
The Fil-Colombian guard plays with a chip on his shoulder. His senior year with NCAA Division III school Newbury College left a lot to be desired, averaging only 6.6 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of play for the Nighthawks.
Since then, it was in PIBNA and NABA where the 5-foot-11 guard had the chance to spread his wings, one which led to an invitation to the Rise Hoops where he worked with fellow aspirant Michael Rio-Simmonds in 2019.
"Banjo Albano, who is my trainer and got me ready for the pro life, brought me to the Philippines two years ago to be noticed. He’s done so much for me," he said.
From that time, Serrano has immersed himself well in Philippine basketball, working out with McCarthy while also meeting fellow Fil-foreign talent who already made it in the PBA.
"I became great friends with Sean Manganti, Trevis Jackson, and Chris Ross. We all worked out many times last summer and I would say I looked up to these guys. Some are younger than me but I just respect their grind and their story," he said.
"To get to the highest stage is incredible knowing that being a Fil-Am makes it a little tougher."
Now, Serrano believes that it's his turn.
"My dream is to be a pro. It's just not my dream, it’s my father's as well because he never had the chance to pursue his dream because he had to put food on the table. It's my little brother's dream as well, and I want to show them that I can make it," said the lefty court general, who traces his roots to San Andres, Manila.
"As much as it's my dream, it's also my family's dream to make it. And I know I have a lot to work on, but I’m just trying to get my foot in the door and then I can let my game speak for itself."