ANTIPOLO – Jericho Cruz played his first game against his former teammates at NLEX on Friday and broke their hearts.
Cruz tallied 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists in San Miguel's 100-92 win - his first game against NLEX since he signed a three-year deal with the Beermen last March after his contract with the Road Warriors expired.
The former NLEX mainstay said he treated Friday as any other game and tempered his expectations after missing practice due to an injury.
“Wala akong ginawa for the past few days. Hindi ako makapag-practice sa team. I’ll stay ready lang. Salamat sa kanila [team’s physical therapists]. Sabi ko I’ll be ready,” said the former UAAP standout out of Adamson.
The Guam national player had five points in the third quarter when San Miguel made the run that enabled it to grab a 78-73 lead at the end of the period.
Cruz said he will forever be grateful to NLEX for giving him the opportunity to play. But now that he was on the other side, Cruz said he expected to hear some choice words from NLEX coach Yeng Guiao during the game.
“Kasama ko sila ilang taon sa practice. Halos every day kami magkakasama, nagkukulitan. Hinihintay ko na lang ‘yung mga salita ni coach Yeng sa akin. Pero wala naman. Thank God wala naming salitang kung ano man sa akin,” said Cruz.
“Love you, coach Yeng,” said Cruz with a smile.
Now in his fourth month with his new squad, Cruz said he has adjusted well to San Miguel's system.
“So far, so good naman e. Mababait yung mga players plus the coaches. Talagang bonded as a family. Dito ko nakita talaga na kaya sila nagcha-champion, kasi hindi lang isang player, lahat eh.
"As a team talaga. Walang maliit, walang malaki dito sa amin, pantay-pantay ‘yung pag-trato ng mga boss sa amin dito sa San Miguel. ‘Yun yung pinaka nae-enjoy ko rito sa team na ‘to,” said Cruz.
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