Blackwater big man John Paul Erram says his confidence is sky high these days, and he credits this to national coach Yeng Guiao and his new teammates on the Philippine squad.
The 6-foot-8 Erram has been practicing with the Philippines national team preparing for the Jakarta Asian Games for less than a week, but he's been absorbing lessons Guiao and his teammates have been teaching him.
"Coach Yeng and my teammates have been reminding me that if I'm open, don't hestitate to take the shot," Erram told ESPN5 in Filipino on Friday night. "And that, for me, elevates my confidence as a player."
Guiao selected Erram for the final 12 of the Philippine team as the fiery coach puts a premium on size and perimeter shooting.
The 29-year-old Erram said he's been working on his perimeter shooting since recovering fully from an ACL tear on his knee more than a year ago.
And he's happy to learn a few tips as well from Rain or Shine's burly big man Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan in practice.
"Grateful for the chance to play for the national team and happy to have teammates like Beau who remind me all the time that if given the chance and as long as I'm playing within the system, just take the shot," he added.
Although the national team has been bunched with seven-time Asian Games champion China and a physical Kazakhstan side in the preliminary round, Erram is confident they are capable of competing.
"Our coaches have been preparing us well these past days in practice, and personally, I've considered practice like an actual game already," stressed the former Ateneo big man.
Belga believes the Philippine team won't back down to any opposition in the Asian Games.
"In this type of competition in the Asian Games, there are no tall teams or physical teams. In the end, it all boils down to who wants to win. And the composition of the team will surely compete and fight till the end," said the 6-foot-5 Belga, who was named to his first Asian Games stint after missing the cut in 2014.