POY Erram played down his resurgence for Blackwater as he matches up against a fellow stalwart who has put a devastating knee injury behind in Greg Slaughter in the Elite’s PBA Governors’ Cup outing against Barangay Ginebra on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While the spotlight has fallen mostly on import Bill Walker and rising local stars Mike DiGregorio and Roi Sumang, who have all been credited for the Elite’s emergence, it’s Erram who has silently anchored the middle, proving he is nearly fully recovered from a torn ACL that kept him out for a year.
Now, the 28-year-old slotman is averaging 11 points on 52-percent shooting, 11.1 boards, 2.5 blocks, and one steal in 28.9 minutes in the first eight games this conference that the Elite have split.
The former Ateneo center is also leading locals in rebounds and blocks and is only one of four players averaging a double-double, according to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Erram, though, is playing down his matchup against Slaughter, refusing to use the faceoff as a barometer of his progress.
“Hindi ko masasabi na siya yung gauge ko eh, kasi kahit ako mismo, hindi ko masasabi kung fully healed na ba ako or ready na ba talaga ako mentally at physically,” Errams said in a chat with SPIN.ph on the eve of the 7 p.m. meeting. “Pero ang sa akin, hindi ko masyado iniisip kung sino yung matchup ko, hindi ko iniisip kung sino kalaban.”
“Basta ang importante, magawa ko yung pinapagawa ni coach. Ibigay ko yung kaya ko ibigay sa team,” he added.
Asked if he can limit Slaughter’s production, Erram can only hope for the best against his former Ateneo teammate, who has also shown he has fully healed from his ACL tear, averaging 14.9 points, 10.4 boards, and two blocks.
“Sobrang hindi mo kayang maging zero si Greg sa score eh, kasi seven-footer siya,” the 6-foot-7 Erram said. “Kahit nung college ako, magkakampi na kami niyan, ako bumabantay sa kanya sa practice, siguro sa ten, mga dalawang beses ko lang siya maba-block eh. ganun siya ka-galing eh.”
“So for me, ili-limit ko lang,” he added. “Tingnan ko kung ano magagawa ko.”
“Pero hindi lang naman si Greg yung kailangan ko depensahan eh, kasi team sila, so kailangan mo rin tingnan sila Japeth, si Brownlee, sila Joe Devance,” he continued. “Ang daming pagkunan ng points nila eh.”
Good thing, Erram and the rest of the Elite will have no shortage of motivation playing the league’s most popular team its legion of fans.
“Iba pag Ginebra kalaban mo eh,” Erram said. “Kahit naman sinong team, sasabihin nila na pag Ginebra kalaban, lalo na pag nanood yung crowd, tapos natalo mo sila, parang sobrang sa ibang deal sa ibang tao nun eh, so for us, yun yung motivation namin para ipakita namin sila na kaya namin maglaro.”
“Walang mawawala sa amin kasi kami yung underdog sa laro na ‘to,” he added of their matchup against the defending champion Gin Kings, who have won their last six games after starting their title defnse with a loss. “So papakita lang namin yung system namin, yung game plan namin, tapos let’s see kung anong mangyayari.”