Blackwater expects top seed Meralco to come out firing from the get-go in their do-or-die Governors’ Cup quarterfinal collision on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
No wonder, the Elite’s vastly-improved slotman John Paul Erram is preparing himself mentally and physically for another bruising battle against the Bolts’ reinforcement Allen Durham.
The hulking Durham had 18 points, 21 rebounds and 7 assists during the Bolts’ shock 92-91 loss to the Elite on Tuesday.
The 6-7 Erram, who fouled out on Tuesday, admitted it’s just difficult to play honest defense against the reigning Best Import due to the American’s heft, athleticism and excellent post plays, a reason why he expects his teammates to help him put the body on the Meralco reinforcement.
“Iyun yung kailangan kong iwasan,” Erram told FOX Sports, referring to getting into early foul trouble. “Wala na akong magagawa kung ganun ang tawag ng referees, pero titingnan ko lapses ko sa defense. Kasi konti na lang naman kailangan kong i-adjust dahil minsan naibababa ko ang kamay ko.”
The former Ateneo big man is averaging career-best numbers of 10.82 points and 9,27 rebounds for the Elite this conference since returning from an ACL tear on his knee late in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Erram stressed the importance of being tough on defense, knowing he’ll have to deal with all of the 236-pound Durham every time they are on the floor.
“Kailangan ko lang maging malakas sa ilalim. Yung import din kasi malakas. Kapag tinamaan ako sa tiyan di ako makahinga eh,” he said with a smile. “Pero di mo talaga siya kayang bantayan ng one-on-one kaya kailangan talaga may help.”
Blackwater import Henry Walker can’t help but agree with Erram as he reminded his teammates to come out ready on the defensive end.
“We need to match their intensity because having their coach in Mr. (Norman) Black, who I have the utmost respect, I know he’s gonna have his team ready to go so we better be ready,” said the 6-4 Walker.
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