Jericho Cruz shows off for former mentor
Facing off against his “ninong” for the first time in his professional career, Jericho Cruz made sure Rain or Shine won’t be on the losing side on Friday.
The third-year guard willed the Elasto Painters late, stringing eight points in the fourth to seal their 107-97 victory over NLEX to end the year on a winning note.
Cruz didn’t deny that he was motivated to show Guiao how much he has improved.
“I have nothing but respect for coach Yeng. I just wanted to come out and show him that I got better and that I apply the things that he taught me. I’m just so happy that we won that game,” he said, as he finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the duel.
Cruz has been vocal in attributing his success to Guiao, who drafted him ninth back in the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft, and he doesn’t mind reiterating that fact again.
“The reason that I play like this is because of him. Maybe, if he wasn’t the one who drafted me, I don’t know where I will be,” he said. “I’m just thankful that I spent my first two years with coach Yeng. It was a great experience for me. It’s a blessing that he came into my life.”
Though they are now on opposing sides, Cruz just wishes his former coach great things with this new endeavor in NLEX as they go on their separate ways.
“Coach Yeng is known for winning games but maybe, they’ll find a way to get better,” he said. “It’s sad to see him losing, I have nothing but respect for him. I hope they win, but not against us.”
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.