CEBU - In his first-ever game in the PBA, rookie guard Eliud Poligrates had the daunting task of putting the clamps on Meralco scoring machine Gary David.
And modesty aside, the local hero more than held his own against the two-time league scoring champion.
“Pinapa-depensa lang nila ako kay Gary David. Gusto lang nila i-hassle ko siya and to stay in front of him. Yun lang talaga sabi ni coach sa akin,” shared Poligrates at the end of his PBA Philippine Cup debut before adoring provincemates at the Cebu Coliseum.
The flamboyant Cebuano knew he just had to find a way to stop one of the great scorers in the league. "Kasi kung maganda ang depensa ko, maari akong mag-stay sa court," he said.
Offensively, Poligrates also clicked as well as he scored the bulk of his total 13 points in the final period and helped the Tropang Texters break away from the Bolts with his array of moves, including a crossover and step-back three-pointer combination against no less than David himself.
The rookie guard admitted being overwhelmed by the reception of the crowd in his PBA debut, especially since members of his family were present in the crowd.
At least 50 members of his family including his mother, father, wife, and three-year-old daughter, came over all the way from the municipality of Poro on the Camotes Islands to watch Poligrates play his first game as a pro.
And he surely didn’t disappoint.
Poligrates entered the game at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter and immediately brought the house down with a difficult fastbreak lay-up.
“Blessing lang talaga na maganda ang laro ko kasi napanood pa ito ng pamilya ko. Hindi ko talaga ini-expect na mangyari yun. Gusto ko lang maglaro ng maayos at gawin kung ano man ang gusoing ipagawa ni coach sa akin,” Poligrates added.
The Cebuano guard hopes to carry the momentum to the Tropang Texters’ next game.
“Kung ano man `yung ginawa ko sa game ngayon, 'yung lang din ang gagawin ko. Defense first lang talaga. Hindi ko naman kailangan umiskor sa team na ito. Hindi na kailangan. Marami na kaming mga scorers,” he said.