IN as much as they missed Barangay Ginebra, Kevin Ferrer and Jervy Cruz welcomed playing again for former college coach Alfredo Jarencio.
The reunion among the three University of Santo Tomas alumni was forged Saturday when Ferrer and Cruz suited up for NorthPort, four days since the trade that brought them from Barangay Ginebra to the Batang Pier – along with Sol Mercado – in exchange for Stanley Pringle were consummated.
Immediately, Cruz and Ferrer showed their affinity with Jarencio’s system after both finished in double figures in a 127-99 rout of Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Astrodome.
Ferrer topscored with 23 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, while Cruz had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in the blowout win that raised the Batang Pier’s record to a league-best 7-1 in a tie with TnT Katropa.
“Pagod,” said Ferrer in jest, usually an off-the-bench player while still with the Kings, but was a starting forward with NorthPort in his first game with the team.
“Bonus na lang sa akin ito,” he added. “Excited na kinakabahan. Parang rookie ka pa rin.”
Like Ferrer, who played for a total of 32 minutes, Cruz was also surprised to play for extended minutes with the Batang Pier.
“Nakakapanibago kasi sa Ginebra sobrang limited lang dahil ang dami namin,” said the 6-foot-4 Cruz, who was UAAP MVP in 2007 as UST’s King Tiger under Jarencio. “Siyempre as a player, mas gusto mo yung ginagamit ka.”
Jarencio knowing how to use the two of them had something to do with their longer playing time.
“Nakakatuwa kasi coach ko siya nung college and kinuha niya ako para makatulong sa kanya. And maganda dun, alam niya yung laro ko. So kung kailangang gamitin, gagamitin ako. Kung hindi, OK lang naman. Basta ang importante sasabihin niya sa akin laro lang ako,” said Cruz, who won a UAAP championship in 2006 under Jarencio.
Ferrer also appreciates that kind of trust his former UST coach still has in him.
“Na-miss ko yung pagiging coach ni (coach) Pido. College pa lang parang tatay ko na yan,” noted Ferrer, who made the UAAP Finals thrice, twice with Jarencio as coach of the Tigers.
“Alam kong hindi ako iiwan sa ere niyan basta-basta,” he added. “Kaya bigay 100 percent ako para sa kanya.”