CYRUS Baguio showed to the young guns that he still has plenty of gas left in tank as he fueled NLEX in its big win over Magnolia in Game One of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Saturday night.
Settling in his role as elder statesman to Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, Baguio proved he can still deliver when called upon as he registered 17 points, five boards, four steals, one assist, and only one turnover in almost 30 minutes on the court off the bench.
“Yun din yung gusto kong mangyari eh,” Baguio said. “Pero alam mo yun, inaano ko talaga na pg pinasok ka ni coach kelangan ready ka talaga eh. Ginagamit niya naman ako; ‘di naman niya ako binabangko. So kilangan ko talaga—nasa utak ko lagi—na maka-contribute, makatulong ako sa team.”
“Kanina medyo naging okay yung start ko,” the 37-year-old cager added. “Siguro pinaka-importante yun eh—makaano ka ng unang basket. So doon ko nakuha yung kumpiyansa ko kanina. Nag-tuloytuloy lang.”
Baguio ended up making all but one of his six shots from the field – burying his two three-point attempts, as well as all his five tries from the charity stripe.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said this vintage performance has been a long time coming, but he was still satisfied of his longtime ward’s contributions even if he hadn’t put up the scoring explosion.
“Matagal na naming iniintay yung ganitong laro kay Cyrus,” Guiao said. “Actually, Cyrus is a steady influence even if he’s not scoring, his defending, he’s getting the rebounds, his quiet leadership is there and he’s mentoring the young guys.”
“So this is just a bonus for us Cyrus being able to score and be a factor like this in a game,” he added.
And Baguio is hoping that he can keep contributing in whatever way to the Road Warriors’ balanced attack.
“Importante itong panalo na ‘to para samin. At tingin ko mas okay na magtulungan kami sa loob eh,” Baguio said. “Mahaba itong series. Alam ko gagamitin parin ni coach yung mga halos lahat ng mga players. So expect mo pa na lalalim pa yung rotation sa next games namin.”