Aldrech Ramos – 5 teams, 5 years in the league. Despite being a relatively young cager (27 years of age), you may already call him a “journeyman”.

Being a “journeyman” isn’t something you always associate with a young player. Usually, this term is reserved for aging veterans (Willie Miller and KG Canaleta being the best examples at the top of my head) tasked to fill a void on a team looking for utility guys.

But what’s with the case of Aldrech Ramos?

Well, if you’re looking to blame the guy himself, then you’re barking at the wrong tree. At 6’7″, he’s a big guy that can shoot from the outside. He’s a match-up nightmare and most teams would want a guy like that on their side. As a matter of fact, in his last season in the UAAP (Season 74), the Tamaraw averaged close to a double-double of 10.5 points (on 52.5 TS%, 9th in the UAAP that season) and 9.4 rebounds.

Aldrech Ramos was a solid big man during his UAAP days. // Andrew Pamorada,

What happened to the guy? What’s the reason behind a first-round draft pick (2012 fifth overall pick) being already shipped to multiple teams in just his first five years in the league?

In my honest opinion, the guy was just a victim of circumstance. It was just that the teams that traded him away were looking for specific needs for their team. Minalas lang.

For example, he was traded right on draft day itself by Barako to Purefoods for Sean Anthony and Dave Marcelo. If you look back at that trade, it made sense for Barako (or any other team for that matter) as they got an energy guy in Anthony and a serviceable big guy in exchange for a rookie.

As for the next trade, Purefoods sent him back to the team that drafted him (Barako) as Coach Tim Cone really wanted to get Alex Mallari on his team. And on the same day, he was shipped to Alaska for Mac Baracael. Wow, ayaw talaga ng Barako sa kanya.

In Alaska, he was able to spend 3 conferences but he was not able to show his true form. Maybe it was the system or something else but it was clear, Aldrech was not the one the Aces was looking for. Eventually, they traded him to Air 21/NLEX in exchange for one of Alaska’s main man right now, The Muscle Man, Vic Manuel. His stay with NLEX was also short-lived (1 season) as they unloaded personnel in order to obtain another prized scorer in Kevin Alas.

It was trade after trade for Aldrech in his first 5 years in the league. As for any other player, it was hard for him to get into any groove without continuity. Ang malas lang talaga.

Now, as it stands, Aldrech is with Mahindra/KIA. The big question for him right now is, will Mahindra be his final stop or will this be just another pit stop?

To answer this, let me first break down where Aldrech is at right now.

At this stage in his career, Aldrech Ramos is with a fast rising team (Thanks to their Coach, Manny Pacquiao Chito Victolero), the Mahindra Enforcers. Now in their 2nd year in the league, Mahindra is just one dominant big man away from being able to compete with the top teams in the league. Remember when they had PJ Ramos and Hamady N’Diaye down low?

Now that they have added more pieces to their team, you can’t look past Mahindra anymore. One of the crucial pieces Mahindra has added is Aldrech Ramos. He is one of the reasons why Mahindra is enjoying a record above .500 early in the Commissioner’s Cup. It is an understatement if we say that Mahindra needs a player like Aldrech Ramos. Just take a look at the numbers and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Additional fire power for Mahindra. // PBA Images

In Mahindra’s 2015-2016 Philippine Cup campaign, Aldrech Ramos ranked 2nd (Team) in terms of Player Efficiency Rating (PER) with 26.3 and led them (Team) in terms of Win Shares (WS) with 1.6. Here in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup on the other hand, Aldrech ranks 4th (Team) in terms of PER and 3rd (Team) in terms of WS.

Not only that, he’s currently enjoying career-highs in almost all statistical categories. In 16 games as an Enforcer, he’s already had 11 starts playing 27.7 minutes, on average,  per game. His scoring average significantly increased from a measly 6.1 points per game during his stay with NLEX to 14.8. His rebounding average got better too (he’s now averaging 6.5 rebounds per game).

What’s more impressive is that he was able to increase his scoring efficiency given the fact that he has taken a larger role for Mahindra. He’s been more involved in their offense with a career-high 20.1 USG% (from 15.8 USG% with NLEX) but still was able to improve on his shooting with an average TS% of 65.6 (59.6 from deep!) here in his stay with Mahindra (His TS%, 5 games into this conference is at 66.8, good for 8th in the league for players with at least 20 minutes playing time). Just take a look at his shot chart this conference – quite impressive.

Just imagine what his percentages would be had he made those inside shots.

A simple explanation for this would be that Aldrech Ramos is finally getting comfortable with a team he’s in. From all the other teams he’s been with, this is the first time wherein he is one of the main offensive options. He’s comfortable being the main man and Aldrech Ramos is beginning to show the league what his game really is. As a demonstration, here’s a clip wherein he torched the defending champions, SMB, in Laguna.

So going back to the question, my personal take is that Aldrech Ramos would likely stay a little while here in Mahindra – That’s if only I’m the team owner. But hopefully, someone reads this and let Aldrech Ramos have continuity in Mahindra. It’s not only the player that will benefit but the team as well in the long run. What they have now is far from perfect, but it’s a good start. Simple lang, kapag natagpuan mo na “siya”, ‘wag na ‘wag mo nang pakakawalan.