Parting shot: Jericho Cruz delivers in NLEX win, and farewell message after
MANILA, Philippines–Jericho Cruz had 13 points in NLEX’s 109-100 overtime victory over Rain or Shine on Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
But he might have left a bigger impact on the Road Warriors’ chances in the season-ending tournament when he posted what a farewell message on his social media account after the game.
“To my NLEX Fam and coaching staff, I love you all! Good luck on your next games. Thanks for a great run. #NlexRoadWarrior #MuchLoveCYG,” Cruz posted on Instagram after the game.
The eight-year veteran also thanked his NLEX bosses Rod Franco, president and CEO of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., team manager Ronald Dulatre and head coach Yeng Guiao.
Forever Grateful 🙏🏽
Glad we got this W today ✊🏽 Always thankful for you Boss Rod, Boss Ronald and of course CYG for EVERYTHING 🙏🏽 To my NLEX Fam and coaching staff, LOVE YOU ALL! Goodluck on your next games. Thanks for a great run 🤙🏽 #NlexRoadWarrior #MuchLoveCYG💯❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/mtQcJTlurj
— Jericho Cruz (@jerichoXcruz) February 25, 2022
“Glad we got this W today. Always thankful for you Boss Rod, Boss Ronald, and of course CYG for everything,” Cruz wrote.
Cruz, the ninth pick of 2014 Rookie Class, is entering unrestricted free agency once his contract with NLEX expires on Feb. 28, making Friday’s win potentially the last time he suits up with the squad.
The Road Warriors, who were down by as much as 22 points in the first half, 54-32, completely stifled the Elasto Painters in overtime allowing just one field goal in the extra period to seal a third straight victory in a 7-3 (win-loss) card.
Cruz’s announcement, however, may have put a damper on that victory, which practically planted NLEX in the upper half of the playoff standings and gift the team with twice-to-beat protection.
JR Quiñahan drilled a three-pointer then KJ McDaniels pump faked his way to an open layup that tied the game at 97-97 with 4.4 seconds to play in regulation.
The Road Warriors cruised the rest of the way, taking a 105-97 lead off of Quiñahan’s floater with 1:39 to play.
Rain or Shine failed to deliver in the extra period going a dry 1-of-9 from the field.
“We tried to tweak our matchups towards the end of the regulation and in OT. What also contributed to them missing shots was they were getting tired as we put pressure on them; they were playing so well earlier [in the game] and it’s a good thing they started missing,” said Guiao.
McDaniels had a game-high 35 points with 12 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.
Kevin Alas flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while Quiñahan matched Cruz’s 13-point production.
Henry Walker led the Elasto Painters with 28 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out while Rey Nambatac added 27 points as they dropped their third straight game en route to a 3-6 record.