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Left out by Sista, Eriobu blessed to find home in Purefoods


Joseph Eriobu vowed to give it his all as a way of repaying the faith of Purefoods for giving him the opportunity to represent the club in the PBA 3×3.

The 29-year-old is filled with gratitude as the Tender Juicy Titans provided him another crack to show his wares in the halfcourt game after being let go by Sista, the team of Rain or Shine in the new league opening this weekend.

“Bibigay talaga namin ‘yung 110 percent namin dito sa laro na ‘to, para ma-give back namin ‘yung mga blessing na binigay nila sa’min,” the lefty forward said during the league’s Media Day last Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Last July, Eriobu was named part of the Super Sealers, together with the Elasto Painters’ 2021 draftees Franky Johnson, Kenneth Mocon, and RJ Argamino.

But about four months later, EMBM, his agency, announced via social media that the former Mapua Cardinal will be joining Purefoods instead.

So, what happened? Eriobu explained that it was because of the PBA 3×3’s rules, which only gives room for one Fil-foreign player per team.

Sista lined up Johnson, a Fil-American, instead of him. Yes, the 6-foot-4 winger is actually classified as a Fil-foreigner in PBA terms, for he was born in Hong Kong — similar to the case of San Miguel star CJ Perez.

“Kasi dahil doon sa Fil-for rule,” said the Fil-Nigerian, who had a stint with Hong Kong Eastern in the ASEAN Basketball League in 2019.

“Dapat Rain or Shine ako, tapos naka-lineup ata roon ‘yung rookie nila, ‘yung Johnson.”

Johnson, though, wouldn’t stay with the 3×3 team for long. He was called up by RoS for the regular 5-on-5 competitions, which saw him enter the Philippine Cup semi-bubble in Bacolor only to leave after a short while due to an illness.

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Eriobu wasn’t brought in to take his place, still. “Tapos, biglang ni-lineup din nila. So, ‘yun, sabi next time na lang daw,” the fourth pick of the 2016 regular draft said. “Okay lang sa’kin. Wala, ganun talaga ang kapalaran minsan.”

But when one door closes, another one opens, as the old saying goes. And it was Purefoods who came knocking, much to his joy.

Now, he’s about to represent one of the league’s most popular teams, together with former D-League teammate and beloved franchise figure Val Acuna, Pao Javelona, promising guard Jed Mendoza, and Jun Bonsubre.

“Blessing in disguise,” Eriobu described of his luck. “Biglang tumawag sa’kin si Sir Alvin [Patrimonio] na kinukuha raw nila ako.

“Sobrang saya. Purefoods pa. Wala na ‘kong masasabi pa kundi blessed lang talaga, tsaka ‘yun talaga binigay ng tadhana para sa’kin, ng Diyos.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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