CEBU – In his homecoming game, flashy guard Eliud Poligrates was quick to caution rabid Cebuano basketball fans to expect a new player in him.
“Yung Poligrates na andito sa Cebu noon, iba na ngayon,” said the rookie as he was flanked by Talk `N Text teammates during the press conference of the PBA 39th season’s opener here.
“Sa Manila kasi, iba ang duwa doon. Seryoso talaga.”
Poligrates, picked by the Tropang Texters in the third round of the Annual Draft three weeks ago, is expected to make his pro debut Sunday when the team begins its Philippine Cup title defense against the Meralco Bolts.
The game at the Cebu Coliseum will be the first for Poligrates since leaving the city in 2010 and try his luck in Manila.
Once considered a showman on the court, Poligrates has since made leaps and bounds to develop his overall game shortly after being slapped with a lifetime ban at the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) while playing for Southwestern University in 2009.
Poligrates, who suited up for Cagayan Valley Rising Suns and Café France in the PBA D-League, said he already left everything in the past and stands to start a new phase in his basketball career by playing for the Tropang Texters.
With his dream of playing in the PBA finally upon him, the tattooed Cebuano guard hopes he’ll be able to make his family, friends and supporters – all of whom will be coming all the way from the municipality of Poro in the Camotes Islands – proud during the game.
“Siguro sa laro bukas, sana masayahan ang mga tawo para kahit papano, makalimutan nila ng konti `yung mga nangyari sa bagyo. Ang dami na manonood na galing sa amin. First time kasi na may nakarating sa PBA na galing sa maliit na isla ng Poro,” he said.
Veteran guard Jimmy Alapag also said Poligrates’ addition to the team has been like a breath of fresh air and shares the young guard’s excitement about his pro debut.
“Eliud’s been great. We’re excited to have him as part of our team and our family. He’s done really well in our first two preseason games. His teammates and I share the same sentiment that to be in the PBA and to be a rookie and to have your first game here at home is a special opportunity for him and we’re all looking forward to tomorrow (Sunday),” said Alapag.