IS he a potential PBA star or just a court clown?
That question should be running in the mind of most fans who have had a chance to see Eloy Poligrates play, more so after he put his name on the list of hopefuls in the coming PBA rookie draft.
Not a lot of basketball fans may be familiar with his name, but the six-foot guard is some kind of a playground legend in Cebu where he has become known for his court wizardy and fancy plays.
Unfortunately, the 26-year-old guard from Poro, Cebu more often that not becomes too fancy for comfort - his showboating often getting in the way of his true potential.
“Masyado kasing showman type yan si Poligrates,” said former Cebuano PBA star Junthy Valenzuela.
Watch an amusing YouTube video of Poligrates:
However, Valenzuela is also the first to tell you that minus the fancy trimmings to his game, Poligrates is a damn good player who has what it takes to play in Asia's pioneering pro league.
“Ilang beses ko nakalaban sa larong labas 'yan. Magaling, malaki sa point guard, may shooting. Maayos talaga maglaro,” said Valenzuela, a one-time Red Bull and Ginebra stalwart.
“Pwede sa PBA 'yan. Kailangan mo lang talagang i-control ang attitude niya. Pero kaya ng mga coaches sa PBA yan,” he added.
Rabid Cebu fans have not had much of a chance to see Poligrates play at the top level since his stint in the Cesafi with Southwestern University was cut short after he was caught playing in a 'larong labas' - a transgression which the cager admits and says he regrets.
“Sa Kalunasan sa Cebu ginamit ko na jersey at name Jay Mangubat, nakilala pa rin ako ng tao. Naisumbong ako sa school,” said Poligrates, who will likely suit up with D-League side Cafe France if not taken in the draft.
“Pero natuto na ko. Ayoko na ulit gawin yun.”
In one PBA D-League game early this year, the dribbling whiz showed how good he can be, erupting for a game-high 27 points in Cagayan Valley's 107-75 win over Fruitas.
SWU assistant coach Mike Reyes vouched for Poligrates’ basketball skills, going as far as saying that he is a better version of another Cebuano basketball icon, Jimwell Torion.
“Second coming ni Jimwell 'yan. Baka nga mas magaling pa kasi malaki siyang point guard. Scorer pa 'yan,” said Reyes, brother of Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.
“Huwag lang siyang mag-showboat. Mag focus lang siya sa laro, malayo mararating niyan,” added Reyes. “Pwedeng-pwede sa PBA yan.”
Will PBA teams and coaches take a chance on the court wizard? Guess we have to find out on November 3.