Art Dela Cruz admitted that things have turned rough for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel leading up to its 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup meeting with the Columbian Dyip, Friday evening.
Dela Cruz said that the Gin Kings did not have a good practice prior to Friday, and head coach Tim Cone nearly arrived late for their 7:00 p.m. encounter as he got stuck in traffic for nearly four hours.
“Daming distractions before this game. Pangit ‘yung practice namin before the game, tapos na-late din si coach — buti na lang overtime (second game between Phoenix and Blackwater),” he said.
But the crowd darlings managed to overcome the hurdes, blowing past the Dyip by 23 points, 113-90, to post their seventh win in 10 outings. They also clinched a twice-to-beat edge for the quarters.
Dela Cruz himself had his best game of the season, posting 16 points on 66.7-percent shooting. And for him, it was all their way of responding to the challenge from the decorated mentor.
“Sinabi lang niya sa ‘min, titignan niya kung paano kami mag-approach sa game na ‘to.
“We got the challenge. Nilabanan namin ‘yung challenge ni coach na kung paano lumaban ng kahit ‘di maganda ‘yung practice. So sabi namin, pakita namin kung okay. Okay naman,” he said.
But beyond Cone’s challenge, Dela Cruz also had an extra push within him to deliver in the best way he can.
His father, Art Sr. — a 10-year league veteran and a three-time member of the All-Defensive Team — was on the other side of the court, as he serves as an assistant coach at Columbian.
“Na-challenge din ako kasi andun din ‘yung daddy ko sa kabilang side, ‘di ba?” said the 27-year-old forward.
“So kailangan ko rin magpakita hindi lang offense, but also on defense.”