Never give up on your dream
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 12, 2018 - 12:00am

(Part 3)

In the first two parts of this series, we profiled Jerramy King of Columbian Dyip, Paul Zamar of Blackwater, Kenneth Ighalo of NLEX, Nards Pinto of Blackwater and Simon Enciso of Alaska as among the unheralded players who are making waves in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup. Here are five more players in the top 10 list.

Prince Caperal. It wasn’t easy for the 6-5 forward from San Mateo, Rizal, to make a name for himself in the PBA. After going through four teams in the PBA D-League and playing five NCAA seasons with Arellano, Caperal was GlobalPort’s second round pick, 17th of 41 overall, in the 2014 PBA draft. As a Batang Pier rookie, he played behind Keith Jensen and Mark Isip, averaging 1.7 points and 4.6 minutes in 16 games. From GlobalPort, Caperal jumped to Barako Bull which after the Philippine Cup in 2015-16, metamorphosed into Phoenix. In all, Caperal averaged 2.5 points and 6.2 minutes in 19 contests.

In 2016-17, Caperal was traded once more and moved to Kia, averaging 3.6 points and 13.7 minutes in 27 total games. This season, Caperal averaged 2.6 points and 11.2 minutes in five games for Kia then transferred to Barangay Ginebra where coach Tim Cone gave him an opportunity to strut his wares. Caperal averaged 7.9 points and 18.7 minutes in seven games for Ginebra the rest of the first conference. In Game 2 of the semifinals, he started for Ginebra and delivered 26 points and eight boards, the highlight of his pro career.

In the Commissioner’s Cup, his numbers dropped to 2.2 points and 4.5 minutes. But in the ongoing Governors Cup, Caperal is on track for another revival, averaging 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 19.4 minutes in five outings so far. In Ginebra’s 111-105 win over Meralco in Sta. Rosa last Sunday, Caperal came through with eight points and six boards off the bench. Surely, he’s earned a permanent spot in Cone’s rotation.

Jackson Corpuz. Like Troy Rosario, Corpuz transitioned from volleyball to basketball, bringing incredible hops to the hardcourt. He was born in Ilagan, Isabela where he attended Aggassian Elementary School before moving to Arellano for high school and PCU for college. Corpuz played four years with PCU then went unpicked in the 2014 PBA draft.  It took three years of labor in the PBA D-League before Mahindra gave him a chance to break into the PBA in the 2016-17 Commissioner’s Cup. 

Corpuz, 29, averaged five points in six games in his debut conference then seven points in 11 outings in the Governors Cup that season. In the Philippine Cup this campaign, the 6-3 power forward averaged 10.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in eight contests. His numbers fell in the Commissioner’s Cup to 2.5 points a game but in the current Governors Cup, he’s averaging a career-high 12.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 18.3 minutes, shooting 62 percent from the floor. Against San Miguel Beer last Sept. 21, Corpuz shot a personal best 28 points. Then, in his next game against Magnolia, he delivered 20 points. Corpuz is one of a handful of undrafted players now in PBA rosters, including Roider Cabrera, Dexter Maiquez, Philip Paniamogan, Gryann Mendoza, Chico Lanete and Raymond Aguilar.

Anjo Caram. He’s listed 5-8 but he might even be shorter. Meralco picked Caram in the third round of the 2013 PBA draft where Greg Slaughter was the top overall choice. He was the 26th of 44 selected and considered a long-shot with Jeric Fortuna, Joshua Webb, LA Revilla, Jeric Teng and Carlo Lastimosa called ahead. 

Caram, 27, persevered in coach Norman Black’s backcourt, averaging 2.8 points as a rookie, 3.0 as a sophomore, 3.4 in his third season and 3.3 with two starts in 44 games last year. Then, in the Philippine Cup this season, Caram became more offense-oriented, averaging 6.3 points and 16.2 minutes. In the Commissioner’s Cup, Caram continued his surge to hit at a career-high 7.3 clip with three starts in 13 outings. Now, in the Governors Cup, he’s averaging 6.3 points and a career-high 21.8 minutes with three starts in six games. Black has experimented with Caram and Baser Amer starting together in the backcourt and with Caram starting and Amer coming off the bench. No matter how he’s deployed, the former San Beda guard is showing signs of a renewed spirit in his fifth season in the pros.

(Continued tomorrow)

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