ALASKA Aces gunner Simon Enciso was born in San Franciso, California - exactly 28 days after Eugene Quilban was drafted by the then Alaska Milkmen at third overall in the 1991 Annual PBA Rookie Draft.
So when the two had a chance meeting in the latter’s 53rd birthday celebration with close friends and family at Gerry’s Grill along Shaw Blvd. last Monday, and after Enciso was asked if he knew Quilban, his “No, sorry” reply was understandable.
Enciso just came from Alaska practice that afternoon at the Gatorade Hoops Center, just a few meters from the restaurant where he went to buy some food to take out.
When he was formally introduced to the Alaska franchise’s first-ever Rookie of the Year winner and one of only three Aces to have won the award, Enciso was profuse with apologies to the PBA legend.
He was grateful to him at the same time.
“Thank you for being one of those who paved the way for us at Alaska and in the PBA,” a respectful Enciso told Quilban while shaking the latter’s hand. Quilban last played in the PBA in 1999 and is now busy with his buy and sell business.
When Enciso was informed that Quilban still holds the PBA’s all-time record for most assists in a game by a local player or import, he curiously asked how many assists was Quilban’s record.
Upon learning of Quilban’s all-time mark of 28 assists, recorded in a 123-100 Seven-Up rout of Shell on August 2, 1992, Enciso’s quick reaction was: “Damn, that’s more than what I scored in a game (this conference)!"
Enciso’s conference-high for most points in a game in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup is 23, which he recorded when Alaska demolished Barangay Ginebra 104-78 last March 3 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
However, his PBA career-high in scoring is 30 which came in a 125-96 rout of TNT last August 26 in a Governors Cup game wherein Enciso buried nine triples, an Alaska franchise all-time record for most in a game by a local.
Aside from Enciso, also dropping by in the celebration by chance to greet Quilban that afternoon was current Alaska assistant coach Jeffrey Cariaso, which was just fitting.
The two, after all, were the first two Alaska players to win Rookie of the Year honors, with Cariaso accomplishing feat in 1995, four years after Quilban did.