Eric Wise of Barako Bull (dark) vs Gary David and Cliff Hodge of Meralco (light). PBA image by Nuki Sabio
MANILA, Philippines – Barako Bull import Eric Wise kept his father's advice in mind when he made his debut for the Energy Cola on Sunday – a 95-94 victory over the Meralco Bolts at the Araneta Coliseum.
Wise is a second-generation import as he is the son of former import Francois Wise, who played in the PBA from 1981 to 1987.
"He just told me that the game is really physical," the younger Wise told PBA.ph when asked about what his father has told him about the league. "You really have to rebound." [http://pba.inquirer.net/45261/wise-choice-by-barako-bull]
"And don't worry about the foul calls. Sometimes, the refs won't call it, so you just have to play through it," he added.
Wise took his father's advice to heart, as he tallied 33 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists to lead Barako to victory. He also scored the go-ahead shot as well as the game-clinching free throw.
"I think this is the first time that I made a game-winner in my life," said Wise. "I'm just happy that I could deliver for the team when they gave me the ball."
It was far from a great performance by the Energy Cola, however, as they squandered a 21-point lead in the first half and then trailed by as much as 11 points before Wise’s heroics at the end of the game.
"We had an early lead and we gave it up, but I'm glad that we were able to sustain and win the game," said the import. "I'm glad that I’m able to make some shots."
"It's good we started with a win, pero malayo pa ito," Barako head coach Siot Tanquingcen said in PBA.ph's game report. "Our focus right now is taking care of the little things. Hopefully, mag-build up, and they will work better for us. But our continuing focus right now are the small details." [http://pba.inquirer.net/45238/barako-bulls-wise-choice]
Tanquingcen also spoke well of Wise, even as he acknowledged that the import was "not the most flashy" and "does not have the best credentials."
"He does just fine with us," Tanquingcen said.
Wise, for his part, acknowledged that the comparisons to his father – who averaged 36.7 points and 15 rebounds as an import – will be inevitable.
"He is way bigger than me. I'm not as athletic as him as well," he said. "I don't know if I can rebound like him like in the 74-point game, but I'll try my best."
The elder Wise played for four PBA teams and is sixth all-time in the imports' scoring list, with 4,332 points, and seventh in rebounding with 1,769 career rebounds.