PBA: Tratter marvels at phoenix-like rise of ex-teammate Perkins

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 01, 2019 09:22 PM
Tratter marvels at phoenix-like rise of ex-teammate Perkins
Abu Tratter remains a firm believer of Jason Perkins

ANTIPOLO – The last time Jason Perkins and Abu Tratter shared the court, they were celebrating a dominant championship for De La Salle University in 2016.

The two were on the floor at the same time once more on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo – only this time, as opponents.

“It was fun. That’s my guy,” Perkins, now a key cog for league-leading Phoenix in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup, said. “He played a really good game. He’s fitting in well in this league.”

The Filipino-foreigners were teammates for three seasons with the Green Archers and won one title together.

Make no mistake, though, they went at it now that they’re rivals in the pro league – even getting matched up with one another quite a few times. “When we’re playing, we’re not friends. It’s healthy competition,” Perkins said.

Tratter shared the same sentiment. “Me and Jason have always been cool. It was fun and laughter, but at the end of the day, it’s good competition,” he said.

Nonetheless, on this day, the Blackwater rookie was a firsthand witness to how far his former teammate has come. “Jason’s always been a workhorse, but just seeing him out there and seeing how different his body is, it’s a true testament to how much he has sacrificed going into this league,” he said.

In his last year in La Salle, Perkins seemed heavier than he had been during the season he was named to the Mythical Team. As such, he only averaged 4.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes.

Once he graduated and moved on to the PBA D-League, however, the Filipino-Canadian got back into shape and then got back into his groove, helping Cignal to a title.

He was then drafted fourth overall and then proceeded to make an immediate impact for Fuel Masters.

By the end of the season, he was the league’s Rookie of the Year, with per game counts of 12.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

And now, just like he did personally, Perkins is helping Phoenix rise from the ashes.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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