MIKE Cortez’s patience paid off on Sunday as he made a remarkable return from injury to lead Blackwater to a 115-103 victory over GlobalPort in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Elite star point guard had been out with flu and a minor knee injury and had a chance to return last Wednesday against San Miguel Beer, but decided to delay his return for one game.
And the extra week’s rest proved enough for Cortez to deliver against the Batang Pier, tallying 22 points, seven assists, and four boards in 33 minutes.
“I could’ve played against San Miguel, but I decided to hold myself out, and get myself right. And it paid dividends,” the 35-year-old playmaker said.
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac gave his veteran ward as much time as he needed to rest.
“As much as we can preserve Mike, it will be a lot better for Blackwater,” Isaac said, underlining how valuable Cortez is to the sophomore squad.
“Sa ngayon, wala pang point guard that can match up with the intelligence of Mike Cortez for Blackwater,” he said. “Hindi pa kami nakakapag-develop.”
The wait was worth it as Cortez spearheaded the Elite in their first win over the Batang Pier in franchise history, attacking when needed and passing the ball when necessary.
“There were a lot of gaps in their defense, so I think everyone wanted to do something all together, instead of just waiting for their turn,” Cortez said.