RAIN or Shine coach Caloy Garcia admitted that departure of Jericho Cruz is a huge loss to the team, but looked forward to a fresh start with everybody in the team on the same page.
Garcia earlier admitted the 27-year-old Cruz had long wanted to be reunited with former coach and current NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao. Instead the fourth-year guard found himself shipped to TNT for Sidney Onwubere and a 2018 first-round pick.
“Ang laking bagay din talaga and Jericho’s a really talented player, but I think it’s better to move on after…alam naman natin na he’s not happy with us, so that was one of the things we thought of,” Garcia said in a phone chat with SPIN.ph, confirming the trade news.
Garcia stressed he has never had any beef with Cruz, whose numbers have dropped significantly since Guiao transferred from ROS to NLEX.
“I’ve never had any ano with Jericho. Wala naman akong sama ng loob sa kanya, but it’s also difficult to have a player who doesn’t want to play for the team,” Garcia said. “As much as possible, we want everybody on the same page.”
Cruz was absent in Rain or Shine’s last game last Saturday against Magnolia in Pangasinan, but he reportedly missed it to care for his wife, Mosh, who recently gave birth to their second child and first son.
Asked if they got a fair trade, Garcia is sticking to the positives in their acquisition of Onwubere, who has carved out a name as an energizer bunny for Emilio Aguinaldo College in the NCAA.
The 24-year-old power forward has yet to settle in his rookie year as he’s already set to play for his third team after Phoenix took him with the eighth overall selection last year.
“Ang target din naman namin is to get somebody young, then at the same time, we try to wait and find our luck in the draft again,” Garcia said.
“With Onwubere, we got a young guy and ng nagustuhan namin sa kanya yung work ethic niya and hopefully he can bring it to our team, and help us even now,” he added.