ANTIPOLO CITY - Jervy Cruz hopes he has impressed coach Tim Cone in his debut for Barangay Ginebra in an 80-76 win over Mahindra in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night.
Cone earlier said he hopes that Cruz would develop into the mold of Hawkins, like Cruz an undersized power forward who thrived in the triangle offense under the league’s most successful coach at Alaska.
And the 6-foot-4 Cruz hopes he has made a “Hawkins-like” impression after putting up 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, six boards, and one assist in 23 minutes off the bench.
“Nakakatuwa na sinabi niya yun,” Cruz said of Cone’s statement. “Gagawin ko lang yung best ko para magampanan 'yun.”
The 29-year-old Cruz, in his sixth year in the league, looked a nice fit for the triangle as he knocked down mid-range jumpers and complemented the inside game of center Greg Slaughter, while being a solid reliever for Japeth Aguilar.
“Nakakatuwa na dati, kalaban ko sila, ngayon kakampi na,” the former UAAP MVP out of University of Santo Tomas said. “Sana makatulong ako sa kanila.”
The cheers of the pro-Ginebra crowd certainly pumped him up, too.
“Na-motivate lang ako sa crowd,” Cruz said. “Ganun pala yung feeling na Ginebra ka, nakakataas ng energy. Pagod na ako kanina, pero pinipilit ko na lang dahil sa crowd.”
Cone certainly gained an impression good enough for Cone to mention him along with Joe Devance during the post-game interview.
“We got a big lift from Jervy and Joe today,” the American mentor said.