Jericho Cruz of Blackwater looks to make a play while being defended by Jason Ballesteros and Elliot Tan of Jumbo Plastic. Photo by Nuki Sabio, PBA Images.
MANILA, Philippines – The Adamson Falcons are supporting star guard Jericho Cruz's decision to enter the PBA rookie draft, even as they acknowledge that he will be a tremendous loss to their line-up in the upcoming season.
"We support him naman," said Adamson’s veteran guard Ryan Monteclaro in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com. "Pero malaking kawalan siya sa team, knowing na we have 10 rookies noong nandoon pa siya. What more ngayon, magiging 11 (rookies)."
"Plus, honestly, siya 'yung team captain talaga. So ngayon ako na ang naging team captain because wala na si Jericho," he added.
Monteclaro made it clear that Cruz handled the situation in a professional manner, as the guard explained his decision to the coaching staff, the school administration and the team management.
He also revealed that Cruz personally addressed the team on Tuesday to inform them that he was leaving.
"Naging maayos 'yung pagu-usap namin," said Monteclaro. "Sa Adamson kasi, we respect kung ano 'yung naf-feel niya, kung ano 'yung gusto mong gawin."
Monteclaro also pointed out that Cruz cannot be blamed for taking advantage of a "golden opportunity" to join the draft.
"Sinabi niya rin na parang, he feels na malaki 'yung chance niya na makapag-pro this year," Monteclaro said. "Alam naman natin na 'yung Blackwater, aakyat, so I think major factor din 'yun. Plus, I think napi-feel niya na ready na siya."
Cruz suited up for Blackwater Sports in the PBA D-League and was being considered as a candidate for direct hiring when the team decided to join the PBA as an expansion team. Blackwater will not be allowed to take direct hires, however.
Monteclaro also cited Cruz's newborn baby as a factor, although the child was not the primary reason for his leaving the team.
"Hindi 'yun 'yung main reason talaga," Monteclaro insisted. "Ang main reason talaga is, andiyan na 'yung opportunity, which is malaking-malaki, 'di ba?"
He believes that Cruz’s decision may wind up benefiting Adamson in the future, as well.
"Kapag nag-excel siya doon (sa PBA), dala niya pa din 'yung Adamson," Monteclaro said.