Jericho Cruz may have provided timely offensive contributions for the already loaded San Miguel Beer but he insisted that his focus remains on trying to contain Meralco’s gunners.
“Di ko naman iniisip yung scores ko yung team namin talagang ang daming scorer. Ang mindset ko lang coming into this game is to stop the guys from the other team,” said Cruz after taking the best player honor in Game 5, thanks to his tally of 17 points, nine of which came during the third quarter when the Beermen created the much-needed separation.
Aside from the timely explosion, Cruz also came up with a solid defensive stand against the Bolts shooters, especially Allein Maliksi. After Maliksi drained three three-pointers in the second quarter to put the Bolts on the driver’s seat, Cruz manned Maliksi and was limited to just three points the rest of the way.
“Siguro pag na-stop ko yun, iniisip ko pag nastop ko yun (siya), mali-limit namin yung play nila which is nangyari ngayon,” added Cruz who, from time to time, also switched to other guys like Aaron Black and Chris Newsome.
Black, for one, was held scoreless by the San Miguel defense in the first three quarters before scoring six in the final frame.
For Cruz, the stellar game on both ends of the floor was just his way of bouncing from a dismal Game 4 performance where he only mustered two points while allowing Maliksi and Black scatter 19 and 21 points respectively.
“‘Yung game ko last game di ako pinatulog nun eh sobrang the whole season yun yung masabi ko na pinakapangit kong laro. Yung mindset ko coming to this game, just be me laruin ko lang kung ano yung nilalaro ko dati, yung kumpyansa ko wag kong alisin,” said Cruz.
“Nandyan naman yung mga coaches namin eh thank you sa kanila kasi kahit natalo kami talagang tinutulungan kami to rise up again. ‘Yung mga payo ng mga coaches as well as yung mga leaders namin sa team ‘yun yung dala ko to this game and nagbunga naman.”