MANILA, Philippines – Just like old times.
Jericho Cruz relished playing under the tutelage of Yeng Guiao anew as he saw action on the PBA hardcourt for the first time in more than two months.
Shelved by TNT in the injured/reserved list since April, Cruz has been given a new lease on life by the Road Warriors, who acquired him through a three-team trade and reunited him with Guiao.
“I’m super happy. It’s good to be back playing under coach,” Cruz, who had Guiao as mentor for two years back when they were still with Rain or Shine, said in a mix of Filipino and English.
And Guiao immediately threw Cruz into the fire by playing him extensively in NLEX’s 88-98 loss to Magnolia in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup on Friday, June 14.
Rusty and all, Cruz still delivered decent numbers of 6 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds.
“It’s just my first game but I think I played 26 or 27 minutes. So coach’s trust in me is still there. It’s just a matter of how I can repay his trust,” Cruz said.
“I just have to get back to work. We have a practice on Sunday so I will be the first to come in and the last to come out again. Go back to my old ways. Got to work harder and harder.”
Guiao said Cruz “adds a new dimension” to the Road Warriors, especially when star guards Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas return into the fold.
“He’s aggressive, he knows my system, he knows what I like, he can play both ends. He can score, he can defend,” Guiao said of Cruz.
Cruz looks to help NLEX (0-6) get out of its slump when they meet Meralco (3-3) at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, June 19. – Rappler.com
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