MANILA, Philippines -- Poy Erram's PBA career is coming full circle as he is finally set to play for the team that selected him in the 2013 Rookie Draft.
TNT KaTropa acquired Erram in a trade with NLEX, a transaction finalized just a few days before the start of the PBA's 45th season. But the big man has yet to play a game for the KaTropa, as the season was put on hold in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
TNT had actually selected Erram with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 PBA Draft, but left him unprotected in a dispersal draft that allowed Blackwater Elite -- then a new team -- to scoop him up. While he did not play a single game for TNT back then, Erram still has fond memories of his few months with the squad, particularly when it comes to learning from their veteran big men.
"'Pag semis na po at saka finals, nakaupo lang kami sa gilid, 'di na kami naglalaro, 'yung mga practice player," Erram recalled during a recent appearance on "2OT."
"May mga sinasabi sila Kuya Ranidel (de Ocampo). Nagtuturo din siya na, ganito ang gawin mo sa ganitong sitwasyon," he added.
Erram can once again learn from de Ocampo, who retired earlier this year and has since joined the TNT coaching staff. De Ocampo played for TNT from 2008 to 2017, winning six titles with the franchise.
According to Erram, there is no surprise that de Ocampo opted to become a coach upon hanging up his shoes.
"Hindi siya 'yung parang one-dimensional na player," Erram said of the nine-time All-Star. "Ang dami niyang pwedeng gawin sa loob ng court. Tapos 'yung mga naiisip niya, 'yung basketball IQ niya, mataas."
Erram said he immediately messaged de Ocampo upon learning that the veteran had joined the TNT coaching staff.
"Noong naging coach na siya, minessage ko siya agad noong nalaman ko na nasa TNT na siya. Sabi ko, 'Kuya, kailangan ko talaga ng tulong mo, kailangan ko ng footwork mo.' Sinabihan ko siya, 'Kailangan mo akong tulungan'," he said.
"Sinabihan niya pa ako na ako daw 'yung pag-asa ng TNT. Sobrang nakakatuwa lang," he added.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).