MANILA, Philippines — Poy Erram’s perseverance not only pushed him to become one of the top big men in the PBA today, it also helped him get through his academics.
The Gilas and TNT center recalled a time when he nearly gave up college because of how difficult Ateneo’s curriculum was. But he had to persevere since he was nearing graduation and he thought about his future.
Erram said studying in Ateneo de Manila was much harder as to when he was still in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan that he knew he couldn’t just rely on his friends for help and that he has to study on his own if he was to graduate.
“I remembered it was my third year in Ateneo and I realized I was on the verge of getting kicked out because it was that hard,” said Erram, who won three UAAP titles with the Blue Eagles, in Filipino during a conversation with 2OT. “I was doing my thesis and I had a failing grade on one subject, there was a math subject that was really hard so at that point I was about to give up.”
“But I told myself, ‘Why will I give up?’ When I was in my first year I missed my family, I’ll waste so much if I gave up because I’m here already. I told myself that when I was a freshman I couldn’t speak English now it’s just one more year then I’ll graduate. That’s my mindset, just one more year I’ll be finished with my studies so I found my strength but adjusting to life here was really difficult.”
Apart from being resolute, Erram was also fortunate to have a strong support system in his Blue Eagle teammates.
The likes of Emman Monfort, Nonoy Baclao, and Oping Sumalinog, who also grew up in the province like Erram, helped him adjust to life in Manila.
And Erram needed that guidance as the culture shock was too much for him.
The 6-foot-7 Erram said that he was also surprised with the Ateneans’ penchant for joining clubs and organizations on top of their usual schoolwork.
Of course there’s the after-school drinking sessions that are part of the college life, though, Erram had a unique way of avoiding the alcohol.
“There will always be the invitations to go drinking and a probinsyano such as myself would always say that I didn’t have money to pay for drinks so I’d tell them if they’ll pay for my share then I’ll go along,” said Erram, who used to send his allowances to his family back in Cagayan.
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