PBA Finals: San Miguel's 'Martilyo Gang' shows worth in Game 2

PBA Finals: San Miguel’s ‘Martilyo Gang’ shows worth in Game 2

/ 07:37 PM February 06, 2024

San Miguel Beermen PBA Finals Jericho Cruz

San Miguel Beermen’s Jericho Cruz in the PBA Finals Game 2. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel Beermen may not run out of names they call themselves soon, and rightfully so.

Jericho Cruz, who’s part of the Beermen’s second unit, admitted that other than the “Death 15” moniker that coach Jorge Gallent gave them, they have another term for San Miguel’s bench.

Inside that “Death 15” lies the “Martilyo (hammer) Gang.” Don’t get it twisted–it’s not a heinous gang that does its crime with hammers.

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READ: PBA Finals: Magnolia’s ‘Family’ vs San Miguel’s ‘Death 15’

Although, with how they work inside the hardwood, it’s comparable to the destructive effort that the bench brings to the opposition—or in this case, Magnolia.

“We have a name. Our second group, we call ourselves the “Martilyo Boys,” or the “Martilyo Gang,” kasi pag pinasok kami, pukpok lang kami ng pukpok, e. ‘yong momentum nag-shift din sa’min no’ng third and fourth quarter so we’re happy to grind it out and get the win,” said Jericho Cruz with Inquirer Sports after their Game 2 win over the Hotshots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at Mall of Asia arena on Sunday.

(We have a name. Our second group, we call ourselves the “Martilyo Boys,” or the “Martilyo Gang,” because when they insert us to the game, we just keep on grinding it out.)

“Our goal as a second unit is to provide more energy so when the first five comes back in the game, we’ll still have the energy.”

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Cruz and Co. served as a spark plug for San Miguel in the 109-85 win that brought them two games closer to a Commissioner’s Cup title.

READ: PBA: Jericho Cruz thrives in playoff physicality for San Miguel

Cruz registered 10 points and five rebounds built on two buckets from beyond the arc.

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While the scoring came easy for the Beermen’s first five, the bench took care of the intangibles, leaving the Hotshots dumbfounded in the second quarter, where Magnolia scored just 16 quarter points.

And Gallent’s talents don’t just revolve around the first and second unit, as the third group is also a force to be reckoned with.

Talk about “Death 15.”

“Even players in the third group, coach doesn’t consider them as a third group. All of us here can start, us in the second group, when we go in the game, we want to heighten our levels of play. If they play well and we don’t, it won’t look good, right?” Cruz said.

“In our team, you just really can’t say who’ll explode.”

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San Miguel’s “Martilyo Gang” aims to do the same damage to Magnolia on Wednesday at Araneta Coliseum for Game 3 to move a game away from the conference championship.

TAGS: Jericho Cruz, PBA Commissioner's Cup, San Miguel Beermen

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