PBA On Tour: Despite loss, Jericho Cruz glad to entertain fans with 41-point outburst
MANILA, Philippines—Jericho Cruz erupted for 41 points but his career night went for naught as San Miguel fell to Converge in overtime, 113-111, in a thrilling PBA on Tour game on Sunday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The 32-year-old guard was ecstatic with every basket he made, including the game-tying triple in the final 23 seconds to force overtime.
He enjoyed the atmosphere as one of the purposes of the preseason tournament is to entertain the fans but the FiberXers spoiled his night with Alec Stockton delivering the crucial baskets and defensive stops in extra time before Jerrick Balanza scored the game-winning layup with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Cruz will take the win over his 41-point explosion as the Beermen slid to 2-4 in the short tournament.
“I’ll take the win over [my] 41 points,” he told reporters.
“Siyempre masakit kasi talo pero learning process din sa amin ito. MMadaming teammates namin ang wala dito so yun lang mentality lang namin is to come and play as high as we can and try to improve every game.”
The former Adamson star shot 13-of-26 from the field and had five rebounds and four assists in 47 minutes of playing time.
Cruz wanted to step up for his depleted team, which is missing Junemar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez, and Chris Ross as well as Terrence Romeo, who left at halftime due to a hamstring injury after tallying five points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.
“Siyempre naisip ko nawala din si Terrence so I have to be extra aggressive wala kaming masyadong gwardiya dito halos lahat ng guys namin pang 3×3 pa,” he said. “Sabi ko lang sa sarili ko be more aggressive and trty to be a leader sa loob ng court which is nagawa ko naman pero yun nga short.”
Despite the loss, Cruz was still happy to entertain the fans through his scoring prowess on Father’s Day.
“Para sa amin lang naman we gave our best at least yung mga fans dito binigyan namin ng show, nagenjoy sila. Yun naman yung purpose ng PBA on tour, to make the fans happy. At least yung game namin napasaya namin sila,” he said.