PBA: After winning the PBA title, Jericho Cruz is determined to make Guam

Feb 19, 2024

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After San Miguel successfully completed the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals in six games, Jericho Cruz can now devote all of his attention to Guam.

The veteran winger said that if the Beermen lost their game on Wednesday night and had to play a rubber match, it would be impossible for him to leave, which is why he was so relieved when they managed to pull off a thrilling comeback victory, 104–102.

Cruz, who scored 12 points on three triples in 36 minutes off the bench, was a major factor in ensuring that there would not be a Game 7.

With 48.7 seconds remaining, his final long shot was part of an important 11-2 rally that erased a six-point deficit and gave SMB a 103-99 lead.

The 33-year-old would also play a key role in the closing seconds, extending their advantage to two points by grabbing the offensive rebound and splitting his own shots from the line to save CJ Perez’s missed free throws.

After a while, the confetti started to pour, and Cruz found himself enjoying his second championship with the team and third overall.

For the eight-year veteran, making the right play at critical times is nothing new. It might be recalled that he finished with a postseason career-high 30 points on eight three-pointers in Game 5, his timely outburst putting them on the verge of victory.

Cruz, though, never makes things about himself.

Cruz is now eager to return to the Guam national team, and he naturally hopes that his most recent achievement will continue when they play in the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, which will take place from February 22–26.

On the 22nd, Guam will play Japan at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, and on the 25th, Guam will play Mongolia at the UG Arena in Ulaanbaatar.

After that, he would take a well-earned break with his family before returning to work in preparation for the Philippine Cup, Season 48, which begins on the 28th.

On the other hand, the chase for Jeron Teng’s first PBA title is gone.

The second-generation cager finally experienced the victory he had been hoping for after six years when San Miguel defeated Magnolia in a thrilling Game 6 of the Finals to win the Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup.

After hardly having the chance to win a league championship with previous teams Alaska and Converge, Teng signed with SMB in October of last year as a free agent, full of excitement about the prospect of earning his first league championship.

The 29-year-old did make it to the Finals once, in the 2018 Governors’ Cup competition with the Aces. However, Romeo Travis and the Hotshots, who were coached by Chito Victolero, defeated the team in six games, and the crew had to bow.

He now has one against the squad who turned down his initial offer.

Teng has also demonstrated that he is a winner at every level of competition, having set records at Xavier School in high school, taken home two UAAP gold medals and MVP honors at De La Salle University, and now earning a PBA championship.

The fact that he accomplished the same feat with the same squad that his father, Alvin, won with just makes him more proud of his most recent accomplishment. With SMB, the elder Teng claimed nine titles, including an uncommon Grand Slam in 1989.

He’s expecting more.

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