When talking about big men in the PBA today, the names of June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar are always in the conversation.
But there’s one unheralded center who’s making noise in this year’s Philippine Cup: Poy Erram of Blackwater Elite.
“He’s come back strong from his injury. He’s motivated to be mentioned in those names also, like Greg, Japeth, June Mar. Hopefully he continues to play better,” said veteran guard Mike Cortez, picked up by the Elite late last season and became an integral part of the guard rotation of the squad.
The 6-foot-8 center from Ateneo has been instrumental in Blackwater’s 2-2 start this conference which includes its first franchise win against Barangay Ginebra.
Erram is posting impressive numbers, averaging 15.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks a game.
His performance as the Elite’s top man in the middle has earned him praises from the coaching staff.
“He’s slowly getting there. He’s working very, very hard in practice. He’s so focused on doing his thing, both in offense and defense. Also, yung conditioning level niya, hindi biro yun, for him to fight against sa malalaki – either guarding Japeth from afar or guarding and banging bodies with Slaughter down low,” assistant coach Aries Dimaunahan said.
“Then, on the offensive side, tumatrabaho rin siya. Nakakatuwa yung bata kasi sobrang dedicated siya. He’s trying to be one of the leaders of the team.”
The humble Erram however deflected credit to his teammates.
“It’s an extra challenge for me going up against somebody like Greg (Slaughter), sina June Mar (Fajardo) and sina Japeth (Aguilar) kasi naglaro sila sa Gilas Pilipinas. Pero siyempre, basketball is a team game, so I set aside personal matchup. Iniisip ko parati yung teammates kasi kung yung isa hindi magpa-function, lahat hindi magpa-function,” he said.
“Nagi-improve kami individually, and nagi-improve kami as a group. Iniisip nila kapag bata yung team, kanya-kanya. We made it a point na hindi kami magkakanya-kanya. Yun ang tatalo sa amin. Nagkaroon na rin kami ng mga beterano. We found the right combination for the team.
“Mas balanced kami ngayon, mas malaki compared last season. We have Allein (Maliksi), andun rin si Mike Digregorio, two-way player. Tapos meron kaming Mac Belo and Reymar Jose.”