RAIN or Shine made its first bold move in the post-Yeng Guiao era when it signed rising wingman Jericho Cruz to a new three-year deal.
The contract signing was formalized over the weekend in the presence of the third-year guard, together with team board of governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon, alternate governor Edison Oribiana, and new head coach Caloy Garcia.
Terms of the deal were not made available, but guaranteed the stay of the former Adamson stalwart with the franchise for another three years.
“He’s got really a bright future ahead of him,” said Rain or Shine co-team owner Raymund Yu, who confirmed about both parties finally coming to an agreement for a new deal.
The signing of the 25-year-old Cruz came just days after the Elasto Painters gave its blessings to let go of Guiao, the franchise’s long-time mentor responsible for giving the team two PBA championships, and accept the coaching offer of the NLEX Road Warriors.
Also renewing ties with the team are young center Raymund Almazan and veteran team captain Jireh Ibanes.
Like Cruz, Almazan also agreed to a three-year contract, while Ibanes' new deal isn't available yet as of post time.
All three were draft picks by Rain or Shine, with the 6-foot-8 Almazan the highest selected at no. 3 as part of the 2013 Rookie Class.
All three also played major roles in the team's successful title run in the last Commissioner's Cup Finals against Alaska.
But it's Cruz who has been making heads turn in the season about to end, owing to his gung-ho style of play that earned him the confidence of Guiao in the two years he saw action for the outspoken mentor.
"Malakas, matapang, at ayaw magpatalo," was how Yu described the talented wingman.