Carl Cruz is not shy to admit that having to defend Terrence Jones is a difficult task to fulfill. And he is also not shy to admit that he’s also a fan of the ex-NBA pro.
The 6-foot-4 forward was among the Alaska Aces’ frontcourt players that had the tedious job of defending Jones in their 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal match, Sunday evening.
“Sobra kasi sobrang laki niya, tsaka ang dami niyang moves,” said Cruz of Jones, who’s five inches taller than him.
Still, Cruz did not back down. He did all he could to stop Jones — even a play at the tail-end of the first half where he snatched the ball away from Jones after pressuring him.
But things did not stop there. With the third quarter about to end, Cruz still tried to stop Jones from scoring a buzzer-beater. It clearly didn’t sit well with Jones as he pushed Cruz to the floor.
“‘Di ko rin alam bakit niya ‘ko tinulak eh.
“Nagulat na lang ako. Malakas. Masakit din,” said Cruz.
Jones was assessed with a flagrant foul penalty one, paving the way for Cruz to shoot free throws before the final frame. Jones then had to sit out for three minutes, but he never returned.
Despite Cruz’s admission that Jones is difficult to defend, the Aces were still successful. From averaging 33.7 points in the eliminations, Jones only had 19 points this time.
Cruz had a full hand in the victory but not just on defense, as he finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. But the highlight of his night really was the chance to defend the NBA veteran.
“Siyempre para sa’kin NBA player, gaganahan ka talaga depensahan – once-in-a-lifetime lang ‘to.
“It’s an honor for me na mabantayan ko siya. At best import sa liga natin ‘to eh,” he gushed.
But even if they limited both the production of Jones and the locals, the third-year pro out of FEU said that they should be ready for the Texters’ fightback on Wednesday.
“Expect namin na babawi si Terrence Jones and the rest of the team.”
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