Cruz helps Painters win title after getting nearly traded
Looking back, Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao could only smile as he reminisced what could’ve been had things worked out differently.
“During draft day, tine-trade pa namin siya eh,” Guiao said on Cruz, whom the Elasto Painters selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2014 PBA Draft.
“Walang gustong kumuha. Naghahanap kami ng team who might be interested in him who will give us their future pick first round, wala kaming nakuha so he stayed with us.”
Cruz remained an Elasto Painter and on Wednesday night, he capped off his second PBA Finals appearance with 21 points and his first championship.
“Siguro blessing na di ako tinrade ni coach,” Cruz, the former Adamson star, said. “I love playing for him. He gives me a lot of confidence. When you do something in practice, you go hard, nakikita niya eh. He makes you play. Pag tamad ka sa practice, he sees that. Nagpapasalamat lang ako na di ako tinrade ni coach.”
Cruz averaged 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals a game through the semifinals this conference. Already solid numbers and yet, he amped it up in the Finals where he normed 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per outing.
Knowing his fate could’ve easily been different, Cruz couldn’t be more thankful to be where he is now.
“It’s the best feeling ever. We knew how we came up short last year. Finally this year, we got it. So for me, this is the best feeling ever,” he said.
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