MANILA, Philippines - Alaska Milk signed up Samigue Eman to a three-year contract, giving the Aces a potent triple tower combination in the 6-foot-9 Davaoeno behemoth and 6-foot-7 old mainstays Sonny Thoss and Joe De Vance.
Eman, the 2007 PBA Draft No. 2 pick whose existing pact is to expire in July, was given a three-year contract extension deal by Alaska worth around P11 million.
The Aces got the opportunity to acquire Eman after San Miguel Beer put the player on its unrestricted reserve list so it could reactivate Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso from the injured pool.
Before he was signed by Alaska, the SMC management was thinking on working a deal that would have sent Eman to Barangay Ginebra.
“I understand other teams tried to sign up Eman but the guy chose to be with Alaska, believing he would have the chance to show what he can do with us,” Alaska team manager Joaqui Trillo told The STAR.
“I believe he’ll have his playing minutes but he has to work hard for it,” Trillo added.
With the addition of Eman, coach Tim Cone is looking forward to the near future where he could have a triple tower combination like that of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The lineups of the four teams in the semifinals are basically frozen right now. So obviously we cannot include him in our lineup. But this is a real opportunity because we got him about a month before the next conference. So we will have the chance to teach him our system, develop him
during our practices and to teach him our triangle. So it’s really good timing for us because it gives us time for him to come in and learn,” said Cone.
Eman, a bench tenant at San Miguel in his first two seasons in the pros, was introduced to his new teammates in practice Saturday.
“I’m thankful to San Miguel, they treated me well in my stint with them. But I’m already in my third year in the PBA and I want an opportunity to prove myself. Hopefully, I can get it with Alaska,” said Eman.
“I’m happy I’ll be playing alongside Sonny Thoss. I’ll not be challenging him but I’ll challenge myself. I want to see if I really belong in the pro league,” Eman added.
Trillo and Cone both see a lot of untapped potential in Eman.
“I saw a lot of him (Eman) while he played in the PBL and at the time he was much more advanced than Sonny at that stage in their careers. Look how far Sonny has gone now. But you know Sam’s a hardworking guy. He seems to be a pretty decent guy. He seems to be a hard worker and he assures us that he will do anything it takes to be able to play quality minutes,” said Trillo.
“Sam is a big man who won’t only back up Sonny (Thoss). We really envision Sam and Sonny playing together a lot. Sam did not have a spot with San Miguel because their roster is so deep,” said Cone.
“We will give him that opportunity to come in and play. We feel the triangle is a great developer of big men because it demands that big men use their skills. And so I think Sam has a big opportunity to develop with us and we will assist him and give him minutes to play,” Cone added.
At San Miguel, Eman was able to play only 19 games in his rookie year and 12 games in the next season. In those games, he averaged 3.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per outing.