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Two games into the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational powered by TM, the EOG Sports-Burlington Mindoro Tamaraws are establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with, winning their first two contests for a 2-0 card in Group D.
Among the many positives for the Britt Reroma-coached squad is the emergence of Jeramer Cabanag as a reliable offensive option.
The former San Beda Red Lion carried the Tamaraws in their thrilling 79-72 conquest of the Bulacan Kuyas, scoring 15 points off the bench in close to 22 minutes of play.
In his first two games, Cabanag is averaging 11.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 3.5 APG, taking advantage of the more minutes he’s getting on the floor.
“As a player, malaking bagay talaga na nakakalaro ka at nakaka-contribute ka sa team na nagagamit ka kaysa hindi at nakaupo ka lang,” Cabanag said.
The backcourt gunner had often been overshadowed during his collegiate days — not that he wasn’t good enough — but because the likes of Robert Bolick and Jayvee Mocon would get most of the spotlight.
It wasn’t until the PBA D-League when Cabanag blossomed more under Rensy Bajar’s Diliman College Blue Dragons.
“Siguro, malaking bagay sa akin na nakakapaglaro ako, nabo-boost ‘yung morale ko kasi noong San Beda, siyempre andoon sina (Robert) Bolick so limited time lang talaga ‘yung mayroon para i-showcase kung ano ang laro mo. Kumbaga, di ka pa nage-excel sa laro mo,” he added.
No less than Cabanag’s teammates lauded his reliable contributions that definitely helped in the Tamaraws’ spotless record so far.
“Si Jeramer, sinabi lang namin na ‘yung kumpiyansa niya lang every game, ipakita niya. Alam naman naming may ipapakita siya,” James Castro, who had 13 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the win, said.
“Noong college siya is parang supporter lang siya sa team pero ngayon, siya rin ang umi-iskor sa amin kaya ang laking tulong sa amin ni Jeramer na nagsha-shine siya.”
Even big man Alvin Baetiong, who played for San Beda’s rival San Sebastian, always saw the abilities in Cabanag.
“Si Jeramer talaga, stabilizer na yan, dati pa,” Baetiong mentioned, adding that the balanced distribution of player roles by Reroma helped in giving opportunities to all.
“Maganda rin kasi ‘yung opportunity na binibigay sa amin ng coaches na hati-hati kami sa playing time kaya kahit sinong ipasok, may ibibigay talaga.”
Making the most out of his time to shine, Cabanag says he intends to use the exposure to build on his basketball resume further while also boosting his confidence one game at a time.
“Masaya naman ako na napunta ako kay coach Britt, sa team na may time talaga ako makapaglaro. Thankful lang rin ako sa coaches dito, na may go-signal ako sa kahit anong gawin ko,” he shared.
“Hindi rin naman ako nagpapabaya sa laro, so nai-improve ko mga weakness ko at kung ano pa puwede kong maitulong sa team, kung ano pa ‘yung kaya ko ibigay, ibibigay ko, 100 percent. Sana makatulong ito sa mga future games or liga, kung saan man ako makapaglaro. Sana tuloy-tuloy ang pag-angat ng confidence ko.”
Photo from Chooks-to-Go MPBL