IS JP Erram the Greg Slaughter version of Blackwater?
Like Slaughter, Erram is recovering from surgery after suffering an ACL injury midway through the PBA Governors Cup last season.
Yet, that didn’t deter the Elite from re-signing the 27-year-old center to a fresh two-year deal entering the league’s 42nd season.
Team manager Johnson Martines said getting the former Ateneo slotman back on board despite the knee injury only shows the complete trust the franchise had on Erram, who averaged 10.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks with Blackwater last season.
“Nakita naman natin ang laki ng improvement in Poy,” said Martinez on Tuesday. “He has the complete trust of Blackwater management.”
Slaughter also suffered an ACL tear in the eliminations of the season-ending conference and just went under the knife when Ginebra ended its eight-year title drought by beating Meralco for the championship.
The Kings though still rewarded the 7-foot Slaughter a new, three-year contract.
Obviously, the feeling is also mutual between Blackwater and Erram, a former teammate of Slaughter at Ateneo.
“I think bago pa lang siya inoperahan nag-sign na siya sa amin,” recalled Martines.
A second round pick (15th overall) by TNT Katropa in the 2013 Rookie Draft, the 6-foot-8 Erram arrived at Blackwater in the franchise’s debut season in the league two years ago and slowly carved his reputation as the team’s go-to-guy inside.
Martines said this is the first time Erram inked a long term deal with the three-year old franchise, having been previously signed by the Elite to a one-year contract in each of his first two seasons with them.
Erram has already been showing up at Blackwater’s practice and doing some shooting drills in between regular therapy to strengthen his injured knee.
According to Martines, the team projects his return to active roster by the time of the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup. Or better, by the end of the all-Filipino Cup.
“Ang bilis kasi ng improvement niya,” said the Blackwater team manager of Erram, who’s expected to form a deadly frontcourt trio with top rookie Mac Belo and sophomore Art dela Cruz.