POY Erram sprawled onto the confetti-filled floor of the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym, moments after he openly shed tears of joy after TNT completed its title run in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
Erram is just one of the first-timers who won the PBA crown with the Tropang GIGA, who succeeded in ending their six-year title drought with a 94-79 win over Magnolia in Game Five of the finals.
The 32-year-old Erram described the feeling of winning his first PBA title with the team that drafted him.
“Sobrang sweet kasi sila nag-draft sa akin. Pero mahirap i-explain. Last year, nahirapan din kami. Hindi naming natapos ‘yung goal namin. Grabe five months, nag-Ilocos kami, nag-training camp kami twice, pabalik-balik kami. For me, sobrang sweet nito,” Erram said.
Poy Erram career history
The journey to the title was not an easy one. Erram wasn’t actually a big name when he played for Ateneo in the UAAP. Although he was drafted 15th overall by TNT in 2013, Erram was not signed by the ballclub. He eventually landed at Blackwater where he earned his stripes.
The former Ateneo center gradually improved and became the top center of the Elite for several seasons, even earning him a spot with Gilas Pilipinas national team. Erram was later traded to NLEX where he played for two seasons before being traded to TNT for the 2020 season.
“Looking back, I’m totally a nobody. From college to the pro, hindi ako kilala, bench player ako. I worked my ass off every day,” said Erram.
Known as player who is not afraid to show his emotions, the TNT big man is blessed to have the guidance of veteran coaches led by Chot Reyes and teammates that kept him check.
“Alam niyo naman ako from the past, sobrang emotional ako. I act based on my emotion. Pero ngayon, kapag nalalaman nila na naga-act up na naman ‘yung emotion ko, nandiyan sila to guide me professionally on and off the court.”
“Si coach Chot ganun din. Start pa lang ng campaign, kinakausap kami, ano ba ang gusto mo, ano ang kailangan mo para hindi kami mahirapan. Sobrang blessed ako na nandiyan sila lalo na’yung mga veterans ko, Kuya Jayson (Castro), Kuya Ryan (Reyes), Kuya Kelly (Williams), coach. All throughout this conference, nandoon sila,” said Erram.
Thanks to the guidance, Erram was a spark in the finals, averaging 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in the series against Magnolia.
“Just to be with these guys, sobrang blessed ako na nakuha ko ‘yung unang championship ko sa unang team na nag-draft sa akin,” said Erram.