Jericho’s approval opens the door for Jayvee Dela Cruz to join the SMB roster

Jul 2, 2023

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Jayvee Dela Cruz, an underrated performer, moved his show from the D-League to the PBA On Tour. Jericho Cruz, his coach and current colleague at San Miguel, made everything possible.

The path of Jayvee Dela Cruz to PBA On Tour

Cruz recommended and offered the services of Dela Cruz, a player with the Philippine Sports Performance (PSP), where he worked as one of Coach John Paolo Lao’s assistants, when the Beermen played with a depleted lineup during the preseason.

Cruz claimed that he invited the player to the team’s practice as a form of tryout, and it appears that the coaching staff approved because the player was instantly added to the starting lineup for the team’s subsequent matchup with NLEX.

Cruz was a starter from the start against the Road Warriors in his professional debut, but he seemed to be overwhelmed by the situation as his shooting (1-of-7) faltered and he only managed three points and five assists.

In a performance that hardly represented the way he played with the Gymers, when he was the team’s leading scorer in the D-League, he was also 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Coach Cruz claimed that the youngster became overjoyed and enthusiastic as the Beerman fell to the Road Warriors, 102-94, losing control by 19 points.

Despite the defeat, Cruz expressed his happiness at seeing Dela Cruz on the field with some of the PBA’s top players.

Previously, the Road Warriors started the third quarter with 13 unanswered points to tie the game, which was trailing 58-39 at the half. 

With 5:23 remaining, they finally took the lead as Kevin Alas’ jumper gave them an 88-87 lead. The fourth-quarter hero Jake Pascual added a jump shot on the following play to make the score 90-87.

By 2:05 remaining, San Miguel was down just two points, 96-94, after a Nonoy Baclao and-1, but Pascual made back-to-back baskets to give the Road Warriors the lead, 100-94, with just 55 seconds remaining.

With 20 points, seven rebounds, and four steals, Dominic Fajardo led NLEX’s comeback and was named Player of the Game. Alas concluded with 15 points, Don Trollano had 19, and Pascual got 10 points, eight of which came in the last frame.

Despite scoring 20 points, Jericho Cruz was unable to find the target in the last frame. In the defeat, Rodney Brondial put out an amazing performance with 22 points and 24 rebounds, and Allyn Bulanadi contributed 26 points.

However, no other SMB player exceeded double digits.

NLEX increased to 2-4 while San Miguel fell to 2-5.

Nevertheless, Cruz predicts that the Pasay City native will do better in his subsequent match.

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