Vancouver, British Columbia - There are two common themes along Taylor Browne’s road to becoming the 16th pick in the 2021 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft - persistence and belief.
Taylor adopted a passion for the game immediately at a young age and was dedicated to refining his craft ever since. He attended Holy Cross High School in Surrey before committing to UBC where he had decorated careers throughout. Taylor has had to prove himself over and over again, with no bigger challenge then recovering from a heartbreaking achilles injury entering his fourth year in UBC. He persevered, betting on himself and never losing focus on the task at hand. His work ethic and faith are a direct extension of his family, coaches, friends, and teammates through the years. With his final year at UBC cancelled due to Covid, he made his biggest bet yet, entering the PBA draft pool while keeping workouts and communication tight within his team. It paid off big time, his stock started to grow heading into the draft, which landed him on the Alaska Aces. We’re proud and happy to see Taylor start his professional career, good luck is due but not needed, he’ll earn everything he deserves out there.
Thanks to Taylor for sharing his story, in his words.
I always had a ball in my hand from a very young age. I remember when I was in the second grade, my best friend Jordan and I were enrolled in a basketball program where every Wednesday we would go to the Guildford Rec Centre and learn how to play basketball. At that point we became obsessed with it. All we would talk about is basketball, all we would want to dress up in was jerseys and shorts. Also, my brother Marcus and I would always be playing 1on1 in our front driveway as kids and that's where we became competitive, trying to make each other better. It was so enjoyable for me, it brought me so much excitement and happiness. When I was in the sixth grade, I played on my first club team. I played on the Holy Cross Junior Crusaders and we played in the Metro League. That was when basketball started to get serious
I ended up going to Holy Cross Regional High School. I played on the eighth-grade team that was coached by Anthony Pezzente. We had a good year and I learned a lot about the game of basketball. I ended up being asked by Matthew Lechasseur and Anthony Pezzente to try out for the Varsity team when I was in the ninth grade. I made the team and from there I learned what it took to play with guys who were older than me. During the summers I played for Basketball BC and Drive Basketball. AAU taught me how to be tough and I got to play against many American players, some who are in the NBA today. We ended up coming second place in the 4A championships in my grade 11 year but that was a major motivator for me to come back the next year and leave it all on the floor. In my senior year at Holy Cross I averaged 31 PPG and set a record for most points scored in a game at Holy Cross – 58! From there I felt that my caliber was increasing and committed to play at UBC. I was excited for my next journey.
In my rookie year at UBC I had a bunch of great teammates such as Conor Morgan, Jordan Jensen Whyte, David Wagner, Phil Jalalpoor, Luka Z, and Will Ondrik. My role was simply to be a spot up shooter and to play defense. I ended up shooting 43% from the 3 that year. I was named to the Canada West All Rookie Team and that was the start of my university journey. My role got bigger as the years went on and I maintained a 40% clip through my first 3 years. Before I started my fourth year, I was faced with the biggest setback in my basketball career. I ruptured my left achilles tendon while playing a practice game in the off season. This hit me hard because I had never had a major injury prior to this. I was rushed to the hospital with the help of Luka and I had surgery 2 weeks later. I went through an emotional battle trying to stay motivated while I was recovering but I had a great support system who would constantly help me with anything I needed during this time. Without them I wouldn’t have gotten through it mentally because as difficult as it was physically, it was just as difficult mentally. I ended up having a 14-month recovery and it molded me to have a greater comeback. In my first tournament post recovery we played in Taiwan in the Jones Cup. I had one of the best games of my UBC career against Mighty Sports Philippines where I had 25 points and hit 7/11 threes in that game. I was ecstatic because I hadn’t played basketball in 14 months and to come back and play that way felt like a miracle. In my 4th year at UBC I maintained a 37% 3-point percentage and we won Canada West that year as well as third place at Nationals. I was also happy that I got to play with my best friend Jadon Cohee because the year he committed to play at UBC was the year that I got injured. In my senior year at UBC our season was cut short due to covid but I was planning to graduate in December of 2020. I finished my degree and decided to take my talents to the next level.
I decided to declare for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) draft in hopes that my professional dreams would come true. I ended up going 16th overall to the Alaska Aces in the 46th PBA Draft and it was an amazing feeling. All the hard work that I put in was finally paying off. All the blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices that I made were all worth it in the end. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my friend and agent Miguel Olfato. I am now signed with the Alaska Aces and I hope to make an impact right away and have a successful professional career in the PBA. I hope that I showed all the Filipino kids in Vancouver that it is possible to make it in the PBA as long as you work hard and stay the course.
I would just like to thank my mom Pam for always pushing me, my dad Les for always supporting me, my brother Marcus for being the best brother I could ever ask for, and my sisters Cynthia and Cheryl for always taking care of me. I also want to thank my Lola, she raised me as a kid and without her I am nothing. To all my family from my aunties, uncles, cousins and family friends - thank you for your continued support. To my Kuya Mark, thank you for always taking me to practice, for coming to every game, and for the constant support. To my Kuya Jason, thank you for pushing me to want to beat you when I was young. It was because of you I grew the hunger to get better just so I can beat you one day. To my Kuya Donnel, thank you for helping me find my creative side and for always asking me to be a part of your journey. To all my coaches, especially Anthony Pezzente, Matthew Lechasseur, Karn Sharda, and Kevin Hanson, without all of your guidance I wouldn’t be the player I am today. And to all my friends, I got y’all forever, you know who you are! And most of all, thank you God.