PBA Governors' Cup

Jericho Cruz leaves Yeng Guiao astonished with scoring boost for NLEX

Delfin Dioquino
Jericho Cruz leaves Yeng Guiao astonished with scoring boost for NLEX

STEP UP. Jericho Cruz has upped his numbers for NLEX.

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Averaging single digits in scoring, Jericho Cruz breaches the 20-point mark in back-to-back games as NLEX puts itself in prime position to clinch a playoff bonus

MANILA, Philippines – Even NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao is bewildered as to what has gotten into Jericho Cruz following his recent offensive resurgence for the Road Warriors.

Cruz delivered 21 points and served as a steadying presence down the stretch to key NLEX to a 106-89 win over inspired Alaska in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, February 23.

It was the second straight game the spitfire guard scored at least 20 points after churning out a season-best 22 points in a 20-point rout of hard-luck Blackwater.

“Very happy for Jericho. He’s been consistent the last few games. I don’t know what he ate or what he did,” Guiao quipped in a mix of Filipino and English.

“It seems like he knows something that I don’t, that’s why he’s been playing this way.”

Cruz doused cold water on the Aces’ fourth-quarter comeback as the Road Warriors coasted to another double-digit win.

Alaska cut what was once a 29-point deficit to just 14 points, 79-93, before Cruz put NLEX ahead for good with a pair of three-pointers in consecutive possessions.

“We certainly needed his offense today. His energy, we certainly needed it,” Guiao said.

Cruz averaged only 6.6 points this conference prior to his back-to-back 20-point-plus performances. In those first seven games, Cruz scored in double digits just twice.

Also, Cruz breached the 20-point mark only once this season, putting up 21 points against Magnolia in the previous Philippine Cup.

Interestingly, Cruz is about to witness his contract with the Road Warriors expire after he signed a two-month extension when his previous deal ended last December 31.

Guiao, though, is not complaining as NLEX totes a 6-3 record for third place, a favorable position to clinch a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals.

“We’re trying to preserve our incentive. If you are in the top four, you have some incentive, so that’s what we’re looking for,” Guiao said. – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.