Ginebra's Cruz surprised with 'best game in two years'
MANILA, Philippines – Not even Jervy Cruz could have predicted that he will be the hero for Barangay Ginebra in their 93-86 victory over the Star Hotshots in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Wednesday.
After a glittering collegiate career with University of Santo Tomas (UST) that included a UAAP MVP trophy and a championship, Cruz has had a solid but unspectacular career in the PBA. He played for five seasons for Rain or Shine, before being traded to Ginebra by way of Barako Bull last season. Since then, he has served as a capable back-up to Japeth Aguilar.
In Game 4 of their best-of-seven Manila Clasico series, however, it was Cruz and not Aguilar who served as Ginebra's go-to guy. The former "King Tiger" scored 21 points, making five of his 12 field goals, and 11 of 13 free throws. For good measure, he added six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block to his stat line.
It was an unexpected performance even for Cruz, who said after the contest that it was his best game "after two years."
"Nagulat din ako," he said. "'Di ko naman ine-expect. Sabi ko nga, basta manalo lang kami at maka-contribute ng kaunti, masaya na ako. Basta manalo ang team."
Cruz credited his performance to an aggressive mentality and the desire to win, especially against a Star team that has found ways to limit the production of Aguilar (18 points in Game 4) as well as LA Tenorio (8 points, 5 assists).