by Brian Yalung
The scheduled writeup for 24-year-old Emmanuel “Eman” Monfort is set to come out next month through Manila Bulletin’s Sport Digest but with the many insights that he was able to share during out meeting, we could not help but give the readers a glimpse of what to expect from the humble cager from Iloilo City.
Chancing upon Eman at one of their Barako Bull practices over at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City, the initial impression that Eman gave us was a typical excited “school boy” effect.
Unlike other established stars who seem to be used to it, Eman was visibly ecstatic about the opportunity and immediately requested for a copy once the article would come out.
The conversation was quite informative and surprisingly educational. It was not hard to interview the young guard who has been instrumental in carrying out the system of Serbian coach Rajko Toroman – apparently something Eman feel’s fit since it was a guard-based brand of play.
And despite a difference in the style of play with his college coach (Norman Black who now calls the shots for Talk ‘n Text) a lot of responsibility falls on the point guard when it comes to orchestrating the offense.
“Coach Norman’s system is more of everybody will touch the ball. Kay Coach Rajko naman the point guard needs to orchestrate the offense all the time” shares Eman on a role he has accepted.
And with the guiding PBA veterans around like Danny Seigle, Mick Pennisi, Dorian Pena, Roger Yap and Celino Cruz, Eman listens closely to the guidance on how he can succeed playing in the big league.
“I am very fortunate to have the experienced players with me on the team. Experience is the best teacher. Lahat sila like Celino Cruz, Roger Yap, I feel just very fortunate to be with them.
Apparently, Eman’s family is filled with rich basketball tradition. His parents (Mr. Sam and Mrs. Nemia Monfort) were varsity players in their heyday while his brother had stints with St. Francis and Welcoat prior.
“They say I inherited my skills from my mother because she was a star during her time despite standing only 5-feet” Eman shared excitedly. “She even showed me a picture of her playing.”
But did he ever see himself reaching the PBA, size being a big disadvantage?
“No. Binababa ko always expectations ko. I also put goals sa sarili ko. With the Ateneo culture, its one thing to do more and another to achieve more. Just like the other point guards, they inspired me that basketball is really made to inspire not only on the court but in real life.”
“I also want to inspire kids habang naglalaro ako basketball. Height really matters but then its also hard work and faith in God. So ayun, I focused on that. Sinipagan ko lang talaga. I never expected to be in the PBA so I will always say that I am very fortunate and happy to be drafted… Ganun lang lagi sa akin. I keep myself grounded so I can motivate myself to work hard everyday.”
Eman’s rise to fame has actually given hope to aspiring players, especially the ones who lack height. Paired with a humble attitude and a dedication that any person should sincerely have, Eman’s current success is apparently a result of such.
And as long as he stays and plays with that kind of gusto, Eman is expected to blossom even more as he continues to wow the crowd his head-up brand of play, something recognized when he won the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week (August 26 to September 1).
Want to read the whole interview? Watch out for it when the Manila Bulletin Sports Digest Issue hits stands by the first week of October.
If you want to catch up with Eman, you can follow him over at Twitter @emmanmonfort