JP Erram laments timing of ACL injury: 'Gumanda na laro ko, napapansin na ako ng tao'
With his injured knee in a brace, JP Erram watches Blackwater practice on Tuesday. He is set to go under the knife for a second ACL injury in his career once noted surgeon George Canlas returns from the Rio Olympics. Karlo Sacamos

IT’s a familiar adversity that couldn’t have come at a worse time for Poy Erram.

The Blackwater big man is frustrated by the timing of his knee injury that has derailed the gains he has made in a blossoming PBA career.

Erram, who tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on his left knee in college at Ateneo a few years ago, has suffered what is suspected to be a similar injury on his other knee after a bad fall in the Elite’s Governors’ Cup game against TNT Katropa last Saturday.

“(Frustrated) especially ngayon, kahit papaano na gumaganda na laro ko, napapansin na ako ng tao, yung tiwala ng coach at teammates ko, nakukuha ko na, kasi ever since nung college, hindi naman ako nakakapaglaro talaga eh,” Erram told SPIN.ph on Tuesday after being reduced into a spectator in practice.

Known for his defense during his college days, the 15th overall pick in the 2013 PBA Draft has become a solid offensive player in his second year in the league, averaging 11.5 points on 54.5-percent shooting, on top of 6.8 boards, and 2 blocks in 26.1 minutes in his first four games this conference.

Unfortunately, lighting struck twice.

An MRI test revealed a torn ACL that will keep him out for the next six months. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Raul George Canlas, who operated on the torn ACL on his left knee, will have a second look on his latest injury once he returns from the Rio Olympics where he is part of the Philippine medical team.

[See Initial tests show Erram may have suffered another ACL tear]

The setback also prevents Erram from fulfilling his dream of wearing the country’s colors – for now – after he was listed as part of the 24-man national pool for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup.

“Sobrang nakaka-frustrate kasi pangarap ko talaga maglaro sa Gilas o kahit maka-practice man lang sa mga player na nandun,” the 6-foot-7 slotman said. “Syempre magandang experience yun para sa akin, lalo na kung makapag-laro ako internationally. Mag-i-improve pa yung laro ko.”

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But he has no choice but to stay positive.

“Behind all the negativity, positive pa rin ako na may maganda pa ring outcome na mangyayari,” Erram beamed. “Sabi nga nila, yung ACL ngayon, madali na lang siya (gumaling), so yun na lang talaga yung nagpapa(lakas ng loob ko). Tsaka dasal din.”

 “Hindi ko rin naman sinisisi ang sarili ko,” the 27-year-old cager added. “Siguro may better plan talaga sa akin si Lord kung bakit nangyari ‘to sa akin.”

[See Blackwater injury jinx strikes again as Dawson doubtful for Meralco game]

A silver lining is that it’s his second go around and he knows how to deal with the injury better.

“(Kailangan ng) pasensya sa sarili, sa injury, tsaka huwag masyado mag-isip ng negative kasi kung masyado mo siya iniisip, matagal ka gagaling eh,” Erram said.

“Yung sa left ACL ko, mentally talaga ang hirap kasi first time ko ‘yun eh, so kada laro ko (pag balik ko), parang iniisip ko kung ano ang mangyayari sa tuhod ko. Parang konting ano lang, matatakot ka na agad, gusto mo na magpahinga,” he recalled.

“Pero ngayon talaga, ang natutunan ko, isipin ko lang na magpagaling ako at mag-focus ako sa mga kaya ko ma-control,” Erram concluded.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos