CYRUS Baguio showed he can still be 'The Man' even as he enters the twilight of his PBA career.
The 13-year veteran shooting guard, who turns 36 next week, flashed his vintage form as he led Phoenix to a 100-94 victory over Mahindra in their Governors’ Cup matchup on Friday night.
Baguio tallied 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including seven in the payoff period as he took over when import Eugene Phelps was cramping to lead his team to the come-from-behind win.
It’s a new-old role that Baguio is starting to adjust better to after he has lost steam in his first few games playing heavy minutes for the Fuel Masters.
“Sa ngayon, medyo okay na (ang adjustment) eh,” Baguio said after the game. “Kampante na ako, kasi alam na ni coach kung kalian ako ipapasok o kung kailangan ako sa loob.
“So ako, ready lang ako,” the prized trade acquisition added. “Pagdating sa practice, nag-e-extra talaga ako, kasi kailangan ma-kundisyon ko yung sarili ko para sa endgame.”
Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia never doubted the former Alaska star when he entrusted him the leather.
“Kay Cyrus kami nagpunta and he made good decisions,” the rookie coach said. “That’s the value of Cyrus.”
But Baguio, who added four boards, one assist, one block, and one steal in just 26 minutes, deflected the credit to the rest of his teammates who kept fighting despite going down by 20 points against an erstwhile unbeaten team.
“Buti na lang, hindi kami nag-give up. Nandun kami, lumalaban kami,” he said. “Nakikita ko naman dito sa Phoenix na nandun yung puso nila, hindi bumibigay. Kailangan lang ng leader.”
Still, Baguio said they haven’t proven anything despite putting up back-to-back wins.
“Mahirap pa rin kasi nasa baba pa kami, pero nakikita na namin kung paano manalo.”