JP Erram's rise into one of the PBA's big men was in full display Friday night after besting former college teammate Greg Slaughter in Blackwater's stunning 94-77 win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"We were seeing each other actually when we both had rehab at the same time," said Slaughter. "He was ahead of me and I just saw how hard he was working, so I'm not surprised.
The 6-foot-7 Erram had 22 points and 11 rebounds and held his own against Slaughter, who were teammates during the latter part of Ateneo's UAAP five-peat, as the Elite dealt the Kings their first loss in the PBA Philippine Cup.
"Malaking pampataas ng confidence para sa akin kasi siyempre teammates kami (before sa Ateneo) tapos magkalaban na, tapos ayun nga, against them nanalo kami," said Erram.
"Yung caliber ni Greg hindi basta-basta kasi naglaro siya sa Gilas so marami akong natutunan sa matchup namin," he added.
Slaughter, for his part, tipped his hat at Erram, who aside from being a fellow 2013 draftee were both recovering from ACL injuries at the same time last year.
"Even before he got injured, everyone could see how much he has improved. He continued working hard in rehab, and hard work pays off."
Erram was backstopped by Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Mike Cortez and Mike DiGregorio to give Blackwater its second win in three games and the status as a team on the rise.
Similar performances in succeeding matches may make the Elite more than just a potential playoff team in the season-opening conference. (JT)