WHEN you have a talent like Robert Bolick in a team, the playing time of his teammates is bound to take a hit.
That's exactly what happened to Jeramer Cabanag in his final year with the Red Lions this past NCAA Season 94, one that coach Boyet Fernandez is fully aware of.
"Humingi ako ng pasensya sa kanya kasi he's playing with Robert Bolick, and alam mo naman if Robert Bolick was there, medyo hirap talaga yung sitwasyon niya," he said.
The 5-foot-9 point guard showed glimpses of what he could do at Mendiola, but he was largely a victim of circumstance playing behind the now-NorthPort rookie.
This time, Cabanag is seizing the opportunity as he earned the starting point guard role for Diliman College-Gerry's Grill in the 2019 PBA D-League - one which Fernandez was happy to see.
"I'm happy with the way he's playing right now. I really appreciate what Jeramer did to our team last season, and I'm really happy with the way he's playing right now. I do thank coach Rensy (Bajar) for giving him that time because he deserves that time," he said.
Cabanag has been stellar for the Blue Dragons, averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in his five games this season.
He also did damage when he played against his former team, pouring in 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals in a losing cause as Diliman-Gerry's bowed to Metropac-San Beda, 67-55, last April 4.
"Syempre nakakapanibago kasi nasanay ako na sila yung kasama ko lagi, sila yung kasama ko sa games, at sa lahat ng laban," said Cabanag. "Nakakapanibago sa pakiramdam na kalaban mo yung mga dati mong kakampi, yung dati mong team."
As weird as the situation was, Cabanag is just relishing this chance to make a name for himself outside the historic walls of Mendiola as he is counted upon to be one of the leaders for the young Blue Dragons in the developmental ranks.
"Sobrang thankful ako kay coach Rensy na binibigyan niya ako ng chance na mag-take over sa game. Medyo nahihirapan pa ako mag-produce kasi I'm playing with Robert before eh. Kapag nagpahinga si Robert, konting minutes lang ako to contribute. Pero yun yung mga gagawin kong adjustment para sa mga next games namin," he said.
For sure, Fernandez will be behind Cabanag all the way.
"Hopefully, it will propel Jeramer to a certain situation. Sana makapunta rin ng mas bigger leagues because he's really a very good player," the veteran mentor said.