MANILA, Philippines -- TNT center Poy Erram knows much is expected of him by the KaTropa organization, after they traded for him in the offseason.
It took a while before the transaction was approved, but Erram finally joined the KaTropa in late February, just days before the start of the PBA's 45th season. Unfortunately for Erram and TNT, they have yet to play a game in the All-Filipino Conference as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the season to grind to a halt.
The stoppage in play has not affected the hype around Erram, however. In May, active consultant Mark Dickel expressed his excitement about Erram's partnership with veteran forward Kelly Williams, and how they can help the team on both ends of the floor.
Ranidel de Ocampo, who returned to TNT as an assistant coach upon his retirement, told Erram that he was TNT's "hope."
"I'm not gonna lie," Erram said during a recent appearance on "2OT." "Pero 'yung pressure, talagang naramdaman ko noong na-trade ako sa TNT."
"Kasi, TNT po, talagang kaya nilang mag-champion eh, kaya po talaga nila," he added.
Yet when asked if he was the "missing piece" that the KaTropa needed to finally win their first PBA title since the 2015 PBA Commissioner's Cup, Erram maintained that was not the case.
"Hindi ko masasabi na ako 'yung missing piece, kasi every time naman, umaabot sila ng semis, umaabot sila ng finals," he said. "Siguro, talagang may mga breaks of the game, hindi nakaka-champion, mga ganyan."
"Pero I think wala naman talagang missing piece sa isang team eh," he said.
The KaTropa reached the finals of the Commissioners' Cup in 2017 and 2019, losing to the San Miguel Beermen both times. Their defeat last year was especially painful, as they were favored to win with prolific import Terrence Jones, only to be outplayed by SMB.
For Erram, his role in TNT is simply to do whatever they need, particularly on the defensive end. With Williams no longer at his peak, he wants to do his part in fulfilling that role as well.
"Siyempre sila Kuya Kelly medyo matanda na, so siyempre iba na po 'yung napo-produce niya, 'di ba? For me, kung ano 'yung kulang ni Kuya Kelly, 'yung lang po idadagdag ko," Erram explained.
"Hindi naman po ako scorer, kung ano lang 'yung kailangan nila sa akin, 'yun ang gagawin ko," he said. "Pagdating po sa team na kailangan dumepensa, kailangan ng ganito, kailangan ng ganyan, 'yan po ang gagawin ko."
A team as strong as TNT, he said, has no missing pieces. All they need are players who will fulfill their roles the best they can -- and that's something Erram is ready to do.
"Ang kailangan lang po siguro nila is 'yung parang, willing i-accept 'yung role sa isang team and willing din i-give up 'yung sarili para sa team," he said.
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