Homegrown hero Jeruta lifts Iloilo to crucial win
ILOILO, Philippines – Iloilo native Aaron Jeruta made sure not to disappoint in his own province.
The 5-foot-10 guard bucked a rough shooting performance and lifted Iloilo United to a 60-58 victory over Zamboanga in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup at the University of San Agustin gym.
With the shot clock expiring, Jeruta buried a go-ahead layup over the outstretched arms of Zamboanga guard Robin Roño with 12.4 ticks left that broke the tie before forcing misses on the other end.
"Doon sa game-winner ko, pinagkatiwalaan ako ng coaches ko. Kahit na ang pangit talaga ng laro ko, sa tingin nila may mailalabas pa ako come crunch time (My coaches trusted me with the game-winner. Even though I really had a bad game, they thought I can still contribute in crunch time)," said Jeruta.
The victory pushed Iloilo to 16-10 for the No. 5 spot in the Southern Division over Zamboanga, which dropped to 16-11.
Before his game-winner, Jeruta was a woeful 1-of-6 from the field, missing all 4 of his shots from the two-point area.
The homegrown Ilonggo, though, was unfazed by his bad night and repaid his coaches' trust.
"Ilang game nang gigil na gigil siya. Sa wakas naman ay nabigyan siya ng chance with that bucket (He had been overeager in our past games. Fortunately, he was given a chance with that bucket)," said Iloilo head coach Eric Gonzales.
Jeruta wound up with 5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists to power his team to its first win at their home court after 3 tries.
"Sobrang nakakatuwa makita 'yung mga fans na nag-e-enjoy sila dahil sa wakas, nakapanalo na kami dito (It makes me so happy to see the fans enjoying this because we finally got to win here)," Jeruta said.– Rappler.com