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    Patience pays off as Emman Monfort finally gets minutes in guard-heavy Ginebra team

    Jun 29, 2015

    BARANGAY Ginebra's pint-sized guard Emman Monfort is patience personified.

    The 5-foot-6 former Ateneo playmaker bared that though he was not given much playing time in his first conferences at Ginebra, he was never discouraged and instead waited patiently for his big break.

    “Hindi ako nag-reklamo (sa playing time), hindi ako nagtanim ng sama ng loob. Basta hinintay ko lang break ko,” said Monfort. “Ako kasi hindi ako nagre-reklamo. Sa akin lang, gusto ko manalo, makatulong sa team kahit anong role, kahit nasa bench lang ako, utusan ako ibang bagay, okay ako.”

    Before he was acquired by Ginebra from Barako Bull in October 2013, Monfort got all the breaks as a rookie averaging 27.75 minutes and tallying 9.08 points, 5 assists and 2.03 rebounds per game.

    His minutes suddenly dipped to less than 10 a game and there were games which he would spend watching from the bench of a Ginebra team loaded with players in the backcourt.

    Yet he never once complained; neither was he discouraged.

    “Sa akin kasi you are worth your playing time. If you're worth it, makukuha mo rin. Sabi ko na lang lagi sa sarili ko, 'Pag nabigyan ka ng opportunity ready ako na i-grab yun.' Ganun nga nangyari sa ilang mga games ko,” the Iloilo City native told Spin.ph.

    Asked how hard it was breaking into the rotation of a Ginebra backcourt loaded with crack guards like Jayjay Helterbrand, LA Tenorio, Josh Urbiztondo and Sol Mercado, Monfort shared he tried to learn from his more seasoned teammates.

    “Hindi ko nakikita na mabigat 'yung challenge sa akin na reliever nila ako at madami sila. Ako kasi tinitingnan ko mas matagal sila sa liga, so ginawa ko dumikit ako sa kanila at kumukuha lagi ng tips,” he said.

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    “Madami kasi akong natutunan sa kanila. Tulad sa practice kapag binabantayan ko sila, marami talaga akong napupulot kaya mas nag-go grow ako. And siguro nga, 'yun ang mga bagay na tinatago ko sa isip at puso ko, hindi galit o sama ng loob dahil wala akong playing time,” he said.

    And being in the company of great guards in the PBA today, Monfort shared how he tried to offer something different.

    “Gusto ko i-provide ang bagay na iba sa pwedeng i-offer nung dalawa, para hindi ako xerox copy nung ibang guards namin,” he said.

    “Sa akin kasi ready ako lagi mag-provide ng energy, hustle at aggressive defense. 'Yun ang gusto ko lagi ibahagi sa team ko,” he added.

    “Kasi hindi natin maiiwasan na minsan mawala ka sa opensa eh. Saka yung focus sa game, ayaw ko mawala 'yun. Every night yun ang gusto ko ibigay para sa team ko,” Monfort added.

    His patience paid off toward the end of the season when Monfort finally broke into the rotation of new coach Frankie Lim and even started a few games in place of Tenorio.

    True to his word, Monfort made an impact in every game he played, even if he was the smallest man on the floor.

    “Kasi maliit man ako, alam ko na malaki naman ang puso ko. So talagang binibigay ko lahat ko para sa team ko,” he said. “Saka napakasarap lumaro para sa Ginebra, talaga, sabihin ko sa 'yo. Kasi manalo, matalo andyan ang fans eh. 'Pag binibigay mo lahat, nakikita nila eh. I am just very glad andito ako sa organisasyon na ito.”

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    Former Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, who personally invited Monfort for a tryout during his rookie camp in 2012, bared that the energy of the young guard is boundless.

    “Grabe ang energy ng batang yan. Gamitin mo o hindi, pag bigla mo tinawag, may karga,” said Ramos.

    “Pwede mong gawing back-up guard 'yan, pwede ring starter. Noong time ni Rajko (Toroman) sa Barako, starter niya 'yan eh. Pero wala ka ring problema dyan off ther bench, dahil 'pag hindi maganda laro main guard mo, gamitin mo yan, iibahin niya tempo ng laro,” he said.

    And for Monfort’s lack in height, Ramos declared that the diminutive guard compensates with a lot of things.

    “Maliit yan, pero kaya niyang dalhin ang isang team, kasi may hustle at malaki ang puso. Pansinin niyo naman laro niya sa Ginebra, grabe ang energy na binibigay niya pag ginagamit na siya,” he said.

    “Ang upside niyan eh magaling magdala ng bola, mahusay mag-involve ng teammates saka magaling pumasa sa ball screen, maganda peripheral vision, at mabait 'yang batang 'yan,” Ramos said.

    “Saka di mob a napapansin kung bakit ang liit-liit ni Emman pero di siya mapostehan ng kalaban? Kasi pisikal din yan, magulang. Susundutan niya ng susundutan kalaban pagpinopostehan siya. Ganun katalinong player yan,” added the four-time champion coach in the Indonesian National Basketball League.

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