Silver lining for woeful Blackwater as JP Erram returns to action after knee injury
JP Erram gets the unenviable task of taking on two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo of SMB in his first game back for Blackwater after knee surgery. Jaime Campos

BLACKWATER had something to cheer about at the end of a forgettable PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign as Poy Erram finally played his first game in nine months on Wednesday in the 124-113 loss to San Miguel Beer.

Sidelined since last August after tearing the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee, the Elite star slotman made a cameo appearance against the Beermen, immediately getting the unenviable task of guarding reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo.

“Fully healed naman na siya (tuhod), pero 'di pa siya pwede basta-basta [ilaro ng matagal], so paunti-unti,” Erram said after the game. “'Di ko naman sinasabi kina coach na gamitin ako, ganito, ganyan. Siyempre alam din naman nila na malala injury ko, so ako 'di naman ako nagde-demand ng minutes.

“Kung sa tingin nila na ganito lang muna yung kaya ko, ganun lang,” he added. “Kahit paunti-unting minutes, okay lang sakin.”

[See San Miguel wakes up in time to deny Blackwater a winning exit]

Understandably, there was plenty of rust in Erram’s game as he missed all his three shots, including a makeable reverse layup, although he collected one block and one steal in six minutes and 29 seconds on the court.

“Medyo off pa eh,” Erram admitted after returning to practice only five days ago. “Siyempre kakabalik ko lang, kaka-practice ko lang sa team, so medyo nangangapa pa ng konti.

“Konti lang naman, kasi pagbalik ko same lang naman din,” he added. “Walang pinagbago sa system eh. Yung mga teammates ko tinutulungan din naman ako maka-adjust.”

Asked if the Elite would fare better than their 2-9 win-loss record in the midseason tournament had they fielded a full-strength roster with him and fellow injured stars Mac Belo and Art dela Cruz, Erram was confident.

“Siguro naman oo kasi syempre yung core ng team andun din,” Erram said. “Sobrang sayang na 'di kami kumpleto. Pero if ever na kumpleto kami, iba yung itatakbo ng team, iba yung itatakbo ng sistema, mas magki-click kami lahat. Tsaka 'di mahihirapan si coach mag-rotate ng player.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos