HIS name first bursted into public consciousness when he pulled off a comedic trick, hugging celebrity Xian Lim from behind as the two were jostling for position on a rebound play.
But Emmanuel Calo clarifies that his foray to the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft isn't another of his funny stunts.
"Seryosohan na po talaga ito. Hindi na komedya lang," he told SPIN.ph during the 2018 PBA Gatorade Draft Combine on Wednesday.
Calo, who plays for the Davao Occidental Tigers in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), went viral last October when he gave Lim, who was repping Mandaluyong El Tigre, a tight hug in their respective team's clash in Cebu City.
True enough, his act was turned into memes and made him an instant hit.
Calo shared that the stunt did help him get his name out in the public.
"Siguro nakatulong yun. Di ko inakala na magte-trending yun eh," he admitted with a laugh. "Simula noon, ang dami na nag-add sa akin sa Facebook at sa social media. Kahit sa labas, sinasabihan ako na, 'Pa-hug naman dyan. Parang Xian Lim lang eh.' Ginawa na nila akong pambansang hug ng MPBL."
Calo, though, would rather put that behind him as he seeks to show that he's more than just a class clown.
He may be the oldest entrant in this year's rookie class at 29, but the Cebuano guard believes that he has what it takes to match up with fancier foes.
And Calo didn't waste time showing that, relentlessly guarding CJ Perez in the start of the Combine's mini-tournament when their teams met.
"Ginagawa ko lang ang pinapagawa ng mga coaches. Tiwala naman na naipakita ko yung laro ko sa MPBL dahil binibigyan ako ng time ni coach Don Dulay sa mga laro namin," he said.
Calo is also unfazed of the roster of guards he has to compete against just to hear his name called on Sunday.
"Sa akin naman, kahit na mas sikat sila sa akin, kundisyon din naman ako at sure ako na pare-pareho lang kami nagpapa-kundisyon. Kung pangalan lang, may pangalan din naman tayo eh," he said.
"Pakapalan na lang ng mukha, pero kung makapasok ako sa PBA, mapapangako ko lang na dedepensa at dedepensa ako. Hindi na komedya yun."