MANILA, Philippines – Poy Erram gave a whole other meaning to the expression "fighting tooth and nail" as the Philippine men's basketball team member literally broke his teeth during their battle against South Korea in the 2018 Asian Games.
Erram chipped his two front teeth following a scary dive in the 3rd quarter of the Filipinos' 82-91 quarterfinals loss to South Korea on Monday, August 26.
In an attempt to give the Nationals possession, the Blackwater star dove for the rock but hit his head on the floor. He laid down for a few minutes before getting subbed out to be checked by team physicians.
"Tinry ko habulin 'yung bola para ma-save 'yung possession para sa amin kaso kinulang. So 'yung ngipin ko, kinulang din. Ayun tinamaan, basag," Erram told reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia.
(I tried to chase the ball to save the possession for us but I fell short, and in doing so, I lost a tooth. My mouth hit the floor and a tooth broke.)
Before the versatile big man was subbed out, the Philippines enjoyed a 54-46 lead and was primed to advance to the semifinal.
But without Erram controlling the boards for the Filipinos, the Koreans slowly clawed their way back into the game by pulling down offensive rebounds one after the other and hitting their 3-point shots.
When Erram – who finished with 4 rebounds and 2 blocks – returned on the court, the momentum already shifted to Korea's favor as it led 72-68 and the Philippines never regained the upper hand.
It was a double whammy for Erram, especially since they had plenty of chances to eliminate the defending Asiad champions out of medal contention.
"[S]obrang sakit kasi lahat kami we're expecting to play for a medal e, lahat kami we're expecting na manalo sa game na ito. Siguro hindi talaga para sa amin. Sobrang sayang kasi we were there," he said.
(It's painful because we're expecting to play for a medal, we're expecting to win this game. But I guess it wasn't for us. It's just disappointing because we were there.)
The Philippines will instead try to improve on its seventh-place finish in the 2014 edition when it locks horns against Japan in the classification round on Tuesday, August 27.
"Goal namin at least, kung 'di man kami makapag-laro for a medal, kailangan namin at least maka-fifth place, kailangan ma-improve 'yung placing ng Philippines."
(If we don't win a medal, our goal is to at least win fifth place and improve the Philippines' performance in 2014.) – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.