Looking to improve on their performance from previous seasons, the NLEX Road Warriors have started out revamping their roster by coming up with a blockbuster trade of their own this offseason.
Poy Erram is now a member of NLEX after they traded first round draft picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter to the Blackwater Elite. Michael Miranda was also sent to the TNT KaTropa for Papot Paredes as part of the three-team trade.
Before Erram, coach Yeng Guiao hasn’t had an elite center at his disposal ever since he joined the Road Warriors. While he is not as dominant as June Mar Fajardo or Greg Slaughter, he is certainly one guy who can hold his own against the two aforementioned behemoths.
Looking at the numbers, Erram is definitely a huge upgrade at the center spot as he averaged 12.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 29 regular season games with Blackwater last season. To put things into perspective, no local player from NLEX averaged more than 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last year.
Erram will surely help the Road Warriors in rebounding and shot blocking, but there are still question marks on his offensive game. Although 46.5% is a decent number in terms of field goal shooting, the former Blue Eagle could probably use a few extra pounds of muscle in his frame as he still has trouble absorbing contact and finishing around the rim.
Big men shooting from the outside has been a staple of Yeng Guiao’s offense for so many years, and Erram will also have to improve on that as he only converted on 16.1% of this triples and 57.9% of his free throws last season. The good news is that his shooting form looks promising and guys like Beau Belga, JR Quiñahan, Jewel Ponferrada and Raymond Almazan have all developed a reliable three-point shot when they were under the fiery mentor’s tutelage.
Erram’s emotions have gotten the best of him at times last season, and that could be an intriguing dynamic as Yeng Guiao has always been known to be one of the most ruthless and outspoken coaches in the PBA. However, the big man has also shown a lot of toughness especially during the Asian Games — with even a save attempt on a lose ball chipping his front tooth as a prime example.
Amid all these concerns, Erram is without a doubt a welcome addition for NLEX. His defensive presence and his ability to grab boards are major assets for the Road Warriors, and fans should expect more from the slotman as he gets more acclimated to their system this upcoming season.