THE love for his former team is still there, but Chris Lutz said he has already moved and is already learning to settle down at Meralco.
Lutz sat on the sidelines and watched the Bolts throw away a 46-31 lead to lose to the San Miguel Beermen, 99-92, that finally snapped their unbeaten run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.
The game marked the first time Lutz saw the Beermen up close since being released by the franchise midway through the Philippine Cup earlier this year.
Despite the bitter parting of ways, the 32-year-old guard still maintains the respect he had for the team where he started out his pro career and won three championships.
“I have nothing but love for those guys. All those guys are the best,” he said after the game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“But of course, I was trying to get that win for my team. I was rooting for them real hard.”
There’s no more emotions involved, too, according to Lutz, who is still recuperating from a severe back injury that has kept him out of action for almost a year now.
“No mixed feelings,” admitted the former Purdue and Marshall stalwart. “It is what it is. They released me. You know I had some great times with them but I’m now looking forward to my new team now.”
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 rookie draft said Meralco was in control for three quarter until the championship experience began to make the difference for the three-time all-Filipino champions in the payoff period.
“We had a great three quarters. Tough time down the stretch, they went to a zone and it kind of messed with us offensively,” he observed.
“But championship team, they got the win down the stretch, made the right plays, hit some tough shots, and got the game.”
Lutz said he is not due for a comeback until the season-ending Governors Cup. He has yet to join the Bolts in practice, but hopes to go on board before he finally makes his long-awaited debut for the franchise.
“Still taking my time, making sure that I do all the things I need to get healthy,” the Fil-Am guard stressed. “I haven’t played in a year, so I need to get some practices under my belt, and make sure everything is one hundred percent before I get going out there.”