TALENTED that he is, Eliud Poligrates once thought of giving up the sport that has been good to him and instead planned to shift to a life of farming.
The notion came in 2009 when Poligrates suddenly saw his promising collegiate career at Southwestern University go down in shambles after the Cebu School Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) slapped with him with a lifetime ban for 'gross dishonesty.’
“For one whole week, I really thought if I wanted to continue playing basketball or not. I thought to myself that maybe I should just go home and plant gabi,” Poligrates recalled in an interview with Spin.ph as he was riding the bus on his way to a game in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
The incident stemmed from Poligrates playing in another league while the Cesafi season was ongoing. Using the pseudo name `J. Mangubat’, Poligrates poured in 57 points during the game held at Lokana, Barangay Poblacion in what turned out to be the beginning of the end of his college career.
Out of SWU, Poligrates tried to bring his act to multi-titled M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos and Misamis Oriental Meteors in the defunct Liga Pilipinas.
But haunted by the nightmare of playing in a 'ligang labas,' Poligrates was never the same again, failing to display his talent with both teams where he was used sparingly.
“Fortunately, people advised me to keep on playing,” said Poligrates in his native dialect. ““Naisip ko talaga na baka hanggang dito na lang ako sa basketball.”
Then suddenly came his chance at redemption.
“Pero napag-sabihan ako na mag-tryout ako sa Manila lalo na pwede pa ako sa D-League,” Poligrates recounted.
Eventually, he found himself with the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns of coach Alvin Pua, where he began to make a name for himself behind his scoring skills and flashy plays.
Playing with more discipline and a controlled game, Poligrates blossomed into a deadly combo-guard with the Rising Suns, a transformation which later convinced Talk `N Text to pick him in the third round (27th overall) in the PBA Rookie Draft last week.
“Sa Cebu kasi, I was used more as a point guard. Dito sa Manila, more of a combo guard ako,” he said.
“Sa PBA, I really need to focus more on my playmaking and decision-making especially na maraming magagaling na guards sa Talk N Text. Gagawin ko naman lahat na makakaya ko para matupad ang pangarap ko na makalaro sa PBA,” he added.