PBA: Back from injury, Anjo Caram makes presence felt right away for Meralco

Anjo Caram Meralco Bolts PBA

Anjo Caram. PBA IMAGES

ANTIPOLO—Despite his small frame, Anjo Caram has been able to enjoy a long PBA career. In fact, he is on his 10th PBA season—spending all of his pro years with the Meralco franchise.

A sterling job on Saturday night illustrated why the 5-foot-7 cager’s career has endured so well. Caram had 18 points in the Bolts’ 125-99 manhandling of Blackwater at Ynares Center here.

“I haven’t been able to practice for three weeks now. This week, I tried to make up for lost time and raised my conditioning (level), taking extra shots after practice,” Caram told reporters.

“It paid off today, and I thank the Lord for that,” he went on.

Caram was big in the first half, pouring 16 of his total output in the first period to help Meralco to a 67-50 cushion going into the intermission.

He went on to focus on playmaking in the second half, helping send the Bolts back to the win column and improve to a 3-1 record in the Governors’ Cup.

Norman Black, as expected, was delighted with his ward’s performance, even going as far as explaining just how integral Caram is for the club.

“We’re trying to develop a first and second team that we can depend on every single game and Anjo is really a big part of the second team for us. For him to come in and do that today really gave us a big lift,” he said in the post-game chat.

“We were hurting a little bit because he’s been out … with an injury. He had a chipped cone in his foot. Having him back, like I said, really helps the second team, it helps (Chris) Banchero because he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much. Anjo is a pretty good shooter. He doesn’t shoot that much, but when he does shoot, he normally makes it. It gives us a lot of stability on the second team.”

Making Caram’s performance that night all the more impressive was the fact that he was actually coming from a foot injury.

“I just had to wait for the swelling to subside,” he said. “I just needed to be ready. My role here is to give energy off the bench. I guess we were just able to execute plays and shared the basketball. Our hard work in practice all paid off,” he said.

It is worth noting that Sunday’s commendable scoring wasn’t the first for Caram. It could be recalled that he fired 30 points against NorthPort in November 2019, also in this same hilltop venue.

“I also thought about it during the first half,” he said of his career outing. “But that’s not what I’m here for.”

“I know that my disadvantage is that I’m small, so I really needed to look for an edge whenever I’m on the court,” he added. “Hustle, defense, leadership. [I need] to be stable as a point guard. That’s all that think of to help the team to a win.”

What’s important for Caram, after all, is for his team to succeed.

“I just deal with what the defense gives me. If I’m happy regardless of whether it’s me or my teammates who score. What matters most is that as a team, we’re playing well.”

He did hope for one thing more, though.

“I just hope we played more games here in Antipolo,” he said with a smile.