INDEED, small guys can play in the land of giants. And Eman Monfort is the latest proof.
The 5-foot-6 rookie point guard stood tallest with his playmaking and audacity in leading Barako Bull to a 90-89 victory over Meralco in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
As a result, the 24-year-old pride of Iloilo ended up with career-highs of 22 points (8-of-10 shooting) and seven boards that went with his two assists.
Monfort, drafted 16th overall by the Energy Cola in the 2012 rookie draft, totaled just 23 points seven rebounds in four games all of last conference, the Commissioner’s Cup.
More important than his overall numbers, Monfort capped off his night with the jumper that gave the Energy Cola enough cushion to pull off their first win in the season-ending conference.
“May role ako sa team and that is to create for my teammates. Nagkataon lang talaga na I was the one open kaya salamat rin sa screens ng big guys ko to get me open,” Monfort said.
“Binigyan nila ako ng kumpiyansa to shoot,” added the Ateneo product.
According to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III, Monfort, officially listed as 5’6” 1/16, is the fourth-shortest player in Asia’s first professional league, next to Boyet Bautista, who stands 5’5” ¾.
The shortest PBA player ever was Billy Abarrientos, uncle of Johnny who stood 5’5 flat, followed by Al Vergara, who stands 5’5 5/8.
“Nangarap lang talaga ako na maging PBA player,” Monfort beamed. “Gusto ko naman ma-influence yung ibang bata na kahit papaano, kaya natin mag-dream and ma-achieve yung dream na yun — and that is through hard work and discipline and faith in God.”