By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
SET to parlay his wares with the NLEX Road Warriors when a new season of the Philippine Basketball Association rolls off later this month, big man JP Erram said he is excited and looking forward to the latest turn in his burgeoning career.
Acquired by the Road Warriors in a three-team trade with the Blackwater Elite and TNT KaTropa this offseason, 29-year-old Erram said he is saddened by his departure from the Elite after four years of playing for the team but nonetheless recognizes it is part of being a player and is now focused on bettering himself as a player and helping NLEX succeed.
“Of course there is a bit of sadness in leaving Blackwater. I played there for four years and gone close with my teammates. But I cannot do anything about it. That’s how the business of basketball is,” said Mr. Erram, a member of the PBA-backed Gilas Pilipinas team.
In NLEX, the former Ateneo player hopes to continue his rise as a player, with help from the team’s resident veteran big men.
“Individually as a player I hope to improve. Asi Taulava and (JR) Quiñahan are here so they will be a big help in my game. I’m just starting my career and newly being recognized and I want to continue to improve. I don’t want to disappoint my new team and will do everything I can to help it,” Mr. Erram said.
Playing for national team coach Yeng Guiao with NLEX, Mr. Erram is not expecting to have a hard transition under the fiery coach’s system but underscored the need to having a good relationship with his new teammates.
“I know Coach Yeng and his system in Gilas and what he expects from me. It’s more of adjusting to the new environment in NLEX. I have new teammates. But so far they have welcomed me,” he said.
As to goals for 2019, Mr. Erram, one of the more vastly improved players in the league, said apart from individual growth, team success is something he hopes to achieve.
“Hopefully all our sacrifices as a team will pay off. We hope to win more games and maybe reach the finals,” said Mr. Erram, who also shared he is open to representing the country in international competitions, including the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in February where the Philippines has its back against the wall.
In acquiring Mr. Erram from Blackwater, NLEX had to let go of its two first-round picks in the recent PBA Rookie Draft, namely Paul Desiderio (4th) and Abu Tratter (9th), to Blackwater.
Also part of the deal was sending Mike Miranda (from NLEX) and a 2021 second-round pick (from Blackwater) to the KaTropa.