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Hawaii's Brilhante Gets Discovered By Pacific
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Maile Brilhante was well aware of the hurdles of trying to get recruited while living in Hawaii. She wouldn’t get as much exposure to college coaches. She wouldn’t have as many opportunities to play against high-level competition.

Four-Star Maile Brilhante Has Committed to Pacific
© Contributed Photo

Brilhante realized the best chance to increase her odds was to play as many tournaments on the mainland as possible. It required an extra financial investment by her family to travel.

“We just figured it was a risk we had to take. I had to go play all these tournaments,” said Brilhante, ranked No. 3 in Hawaii on the Babolat Recruiting Lists. “I might not get offered anything, but I certainly wouldn’t get offered anything if I didn’t go and didn’t try.”

Brilhante played in a tournament at the University of the Pacific last summer in Stockton, California, where she met Pacific head coach Mike Erwin. He expressed an interest in her ability and promised to keep in touch.

Once Brilhante returned to the tournament this year, Erwin remarked how much she’d improved. He gave Brilhante her first official offer, and the four-star rising senior from Hilo decided to commit to UOP.

“I could not stop smiling and my parents were like crying,” Brilhante said. “It was a very happy moment for all of us.”

Although Brilhante’s family is from Hawaii, she was actually born in California while her father was finishing law school. The family moved back to the big island before she turned 2.

Brilhante started playing tennis when she was 7. Her older brother, Isaiah, also played the sport and was a team manager for the Cornell men.

“He has always supported me and tells me to just try my hardest and have a good attitude. I really look up to him. He made me believe in myself and made me realize I can dream big,” Brilhante said. “He was valedictorian of his class and went to an Ivy League. It was really amazing that he could push himself despite being from Hawaii and being so far away without as many resources as other mainland students. He made me believe that I can do it.”

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