Barako import Eric Wise eager to leave a mark in PBA like his father

Jane Bracher
Barako import Eric Wise eager to leave a mark in PBA like his father
Barako import Eric Wise has the bloodlines to be a standout in the PBA, but now looks to make his own legacy

MANILA, Philippines – To be friends with the owner of a restaurant could mean a discount. To be the son of a great basketball player could mean special treatment and an easier path to a good image. 

But second-generation Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) import Eric Wise wants none of the privileges that come with being the son of Francois Wise, a former PBA import. 

“I wish I could be my dad but I’m here to make a name for myself,” Wise declared proudly after Barako Bull’s 95-94 first win over the Meralco Bolts on Sunday, May 18 in the 2014 PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup. 

His father played for 5 seasons in the PBA from 1981-1987, according to PBA Head Statistician Fidel Mangonon III. 

In his mission to make noise for the name Eric Wise, the 24-year old fresh graduate already made one big stride the moment he scored his 33rd point, a game-winning free throw, in his first contest in the PBA. 

With 1.3 seconds left and the game tied at 94, Wise trooped to the line to cash in on charities he earned off of fishing the foul from Meralco import Terrence Williams. He made sure to swish in the first and, with the knowledge that the Bolts were all out of timeouts, intentionally missed the second to use up the remaining of the clock. 

“I’m glad I was able to make some shots,” said the 6-foot-6 forward who also grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. “I think that was the first time I was able to make some game-winners in my life. I’m just happy I could deliver when they gave me the ball.” 

As a former University of Southern California Trojan and fresh from a short 3-month international stint in Luxembourg, Wise brings to Barako Bull his energy, youth, athleticism, his talent, and his coachable attitude.  

Eric Wise's father Francois Wise, who played five seasons as a PBA import

But Wise, who plays both the small forward and power forward positions, admits he can never be his father, a bulky front-liner during his time who, according to Mangonon, also happens to rank 6th all-time in scoring among imports.

“He was way bigger than me, I’m not as big as him. I gotta have an outside shot. I’m not as athletic as him as well.”

He also added he never intended to be exactly like his father. 

“No I didn’t try. He’s too big. I don’t think I can get that big.”

His father, who averaged 36.7 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists in 118 games in the PBA, once dropped 74 points in a single game playing for Tanduay in 1984, according to Mangonon. 

And that’s where the son enjoys the perks of his father’s experience in a 39-year old league. 

“He said the game was really physical, he said you have to rebound,” Wise shared what his father had told him about the PBA. 

“He said don’t worry about the foul calls because sometimes the refs won’t call it.” 

It was only his first game but Wise is already making Barako Bull look good with his performance so far, especially against an NBA veteran and a 2009 11th overall draft pick in Williams. 

Wise knows the history he’s associated with, the pressure that comes with it, and challenge he must overcome to finally leave a mark that’s entirely of his own doing. 

“I know I have big shoes to fill but I’m looking forward to it.” –

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