Sleeve tattoo not a sign of breaking bad as Poy Erram unveils pure intentions behind new tattoos
There's a deep reason for each tattoo Poy Erram has on his sleeve. Marlo Cueto

POY Erram surprised basketball fans and casual observers alike not just with a rare show of his bad-boy side in the preseason, but also in looking the part, too.

Surprisingly involved in a fight that he admittedly initiated with Michael Miranda of NLEX in a preseason game, the Blackwater slotman has been sporting a sleeve tattoo on his right arm that would make him look like he’s up to no good.

But make no mistake. Erram is not projecting a tough-guy image. It’s just his way of expressing his journey on and off the court.

The 28-year-old gentle giant explained that he has long wanted to get inked, finally making his dream a reality after his arm sleeve was completed just last month.

“Ever since nung bata ako, naglalagay na ako ng tattoo, nagsusulat ako gamit ang ballpen sa katawan, pero syempre mahirap lang kami at wala akong pambili,” Erram said. “Pero ngayon, sarili kong pera, so walang masasabi parents ko.”

The 6-foot-8 slotman shared to SPIN.ph the images on his arm and the stories behind them.

Etched on the topmost and near his shoulder is “23:23” that represents the time (11:23 p.m.) his two-month-old baby girl Xaria Ada was born.

Below is a lion that signifies his independence and pride of making his own decisions in life.

“Sa pinagdaanan ko, ever since, yung choices ko, ako mag-isa, walang nangingialam, kasi ayaw ko dumating sa point na may sisisihin akong tao,” Erram said. “Hindi namang ako ganung tao. Every decision na meron ako, every situation, ako yung gagawa, ako yung may kasalanan, kung ano mangyari, ako lahat. Basta wala akong sisisihin. Ganun akong tao eh.

Next are roses and a skull located beside each other.

“They symbolize life and death,” Erram said.

After that are long wings that illustrate how far he has come – or flown, for that matter – from being a wide-eyed kid from Cagayan de Oro, to being a backup to Greg Slaughter almost his entire college career, to finally finding his niche in the PBA with the Elite, who took a chance on him after he toiled at TNT for a year when he was taken 15th overall in the 2013 Draft.  

“Nag-start ako from province na wala talaga, ni hindi ako marunong mag-English, pumunta ako ng Ateneo, bangko ako, hanggang  sa ngayon na nabigyan ako ng chance,” Erram said. “Para hanggang ngayon, lumilipad pa rin ako, on a high pa rin ako.”

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Finally, Erram has the famous Philippians 4:13 verse “I can do all things through Christ” on his wrist as a reminder of putting God in the center of his life.

“Every now and then, nakikita ko ‘to lagi sa mga player eh, parang nagre-reflect rin sa akin,” Erram said. “Hindi ko naman magagawa ‘to kung wala si God. Always give thanks to Him.”

And as he enters the New Year, Erram is praying for the best for himself and his family.

“Good health para sa akin, lalo na ang dami ko ng pinagdaanan,” Erram said. “Tapos para sa baby ko rin, sana lumaki siyang may takot sa Diyos tsaka maging maayos.

“Tsaka yung family ko, good health at kahit papaano, umangat yung buhay namin, at sana magtuloy-tuloy yung career ko at wala ng injuries,” he added.

So with all those images and their meanings, it's pretty clear Erram's tough tattooed exterior only masks a deep-down good guy with only the purest intentions for himself, his family, and their future.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos