RETURNING to the PBA has always been the main goal for Eloy Poligrates when he committed to join Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League.
But after his record 67-point eruption in Monday's 141-97 victory over iWalk in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, Poligrates hopes his play isn't just turning heads but also catching the attention of PBA ballclubs.
The Cebuano showman displayed his full arsenal in the game as he set the most points scored in the history of the developmental ranks.
"Wala akong idea. Nakita ni coach na mainit ang tira ko. Ang sabi lang sa akin ni coach Yong (Garcia), score lang ako ng score," he recounted in a blazing performance that saw him hit 11 of 25 attempts from three-point range.
Poligrates started off hot, scoring 15 in the first quarter before the Skippers rode his hot hands in the second half, where he buried 20 in the third canto and 25 in the payoff period.
His 67-point showing surpassed the 58 points set by James Martinez, who had his own scoring spree back in August 2, 2016 for AMA in its 125-76 Aspirants Cup victory over Topstar ZC Mindanao.
But such high-scoring games are no longer foreign for Poligrates, who is known for his flashy style of play in the ligang labas circuit.
"Naka-18 three points ako dati. Tira lang ako ng tira kasi wala namang magagalit," he shared.
Setting a record in the PBA D-League, however, is in a whole new level.
"First time ko nakagawa ng ganito sa big league kaya pasalamat lang talaga ako kay coach Yong na nagtiwala siya sa akin," said Poligrates, who had stops in TNT, Air21, NLEX, and Kia in an otherwise uneventful PBA career.
That feat also left Garcia in awe, furthering his belief that his bull-strong guard is primed to make his PBA comeback.
"Kita ko talaga ngayon na ready siya para makabalik sa PBA. Dito naman sa Marinerong Pilipino, sinusuportahan namin siya. Tinatrabaho ni Eloy lahat ng development ng skills niya," said the soft-spoken mentor.
At the rate Poligrates is going, it won't be long before a PBA team comes calling. But until that time comes, he swore to focus on Marinerong Pilipino.
"Wala pang tumatawag. Si coach Yong muna ang iniintindi ko. Nagsabi ako sa kanya na tutulong ako sa kanya dito sa D-League. After noon, kung saan na pwede. Sana nga sa PBA na yun," he said.