PBA Finals: Left open, Jericho Cruz torches Magnolia in Game 5

PBA Finals: Left open, Jericho Cruz torches Magnolia in Game 5

/ 10:30 PM February 11, 2024

Jericho Cruz San Miguel PBA Finals Game 5

San Miguel guard Jericho Cruz all smiles during Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Magnolia.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Magnolia gambled on leaving San Miguel guard Jericho Cruz open from the perimeter and it paid a hefty price on Sunday.

Cruz had a field day, tying his career-high of 30 points to shoot the Beermen past the Hotshots, 108-98, in Game 5 for a 3-2 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

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“They were really giving me the outside shots so for me, I needed to hit those. If I don’t make those, our game will tighten. I’ve been working on it in practice, too,” said Cruz in Filipino at Araneta Coliseum.

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“I have this mentality that once they kick it out to me, I will really shoot it. It’s more of being confident as well.”

San Miguel Beermen PBA Finals Game 5

San Miguel Beermen during Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

The 33-year-old Cruz kept firing and hitting the mark from long range where he buried eight of his 14 attempts.

And it wasn’t just on the offensive end where Cruz made an impact. He also collected eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.

“Jericho brings us toughness. He does a lot of everything for us, especially toughness-wise so I’m very grateful for that,” said SMB coach Jorge Gallent.

Cruz’s Game 5 outburst also atoned for his absence in Game 3 due to an automatic suspension and shooting woes in Game 4 that were big reasons why Magnolia was able to knot the series at 2-2.

“We can’t really bring that situation back so I just prepared for this game. My focus was to play this game and after tonight, I’ll do the same for the next game,” said Cruz, who was coming off a 5-of-13 shooting clip in a 96-85 loss in Game 4 last Friday.

“Job’s not finished yet. Back to the drawing board and see whatever plans and preparations our coaches have for us.”

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

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