<
>

With Cruz in the fold, NLEX eagerly awaits Alas, Ravena's return

play
Magnolia ends losing streak (2:04)

The Magnolia Hotshots snapped a two-game losing streak with a 98-88 drubbing of NLEX Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. (2:04)

It wasn't the comeback he envisioned but NLEX Road Warriors newcomer Jericho Cruz is just glad to finally put on an Road Warrior jersey. Cruz said he was thrilled to play for Yeng Guiao, who selected him with the ninth overall pick for Rain or Shine in the 2014 PBA Draft.

Not even the 98-88 loss to Magnolia on Friday could dampen his spirit.

"I'm very happy. It's good to be playing under coach Yeng Guiao again," Cruz said after the match at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Cruz, still rounding into form, played well for someone who was out for almost three months. Cruz finished with with six points, three rebounds, and eight assists. Guiao opted to play Cruz for more than 28 minutes to help him ease into the system.

"But I let him stay on the floor so we can accelerate his acclimation. I think he would be a good addition, especially if we already have Kiefer (Ravena) and Kevin (Alas)," he said.

Guiao, despite NLEX sliding to a sixth straight loss, is confident better days are coming for the Road Warriors.

"We're excited. Kiefer's going to be able to practice with us on June 24. So whatever happens, we still have 5 games left, we'll still try to win as many as we can and see where that takes us," Guiao said.

Guiao, who missed the last three games on a personal leave said Cruz will make a world of difference for the slumping Road Warriors.

"Jericho, I think, added a new dimension to our team. He's aggressive, he knows my system, he knows what I like, he can play both ends. He can score, he can defend," Guiao said.

"I was just trying to fill in the point guard position. I had to step in and try to create for my teammates," he said. "It's my first game, yet I played I think 27 minutes. So I needed to repay that trust. I needed to work harder in practice."