It has been nearly six years since Cha Cruz last won a Finals Most Valuable Player plum, and she showed the younger generation of fans exactly how she has developed her clutch reputation.
After languishing on the bench for much of the 2017 Chooks-to-Go Philippine Superliga Grand Prix, Cruz gamely hopped off the bench in Game Two of the Finals. With her squad down 0-9 in a pivotal fourth set, Cruz served, defended, and scored like it was UAAP Season 73.
The F2 Logistics Cargo Movers ended up winning that match in five frames and forced a Game Three for all the marbles. History was not on the Cargo Movers’ side, but, luckily for them, Cruz has been historically great on the biggest stages of local volleyball.
For her inspiring outings, she won the Finals MVP, her third accolade.
“Mindset namin was kailangan lahat kami gagana, lahat kami magbibigay ng best,” said Cruz about her motivation.
“I was really happy na lahat talaga kami showed our best. Noong tinitignan ko yung mga teammates ko sa mata, there was fire na we really want this game. When you see that, you just wanna give best your best, too,” the 5-foot-8 spiker added. “Coming from Game Two na nakuha namin in a very hard way, it’s also a sign for me na God is giving us am opportunity na sa amin ‘yung Game Three. Hindi naman namin mao-overcome ‘yun ng wala lang.
“Worth it lahat, kukinin namin ‘to.”
If anything, Cruz is happy that her longtime coach Ramil De Jesus still trusts her after all these years.
“I’m so happy and nakaka-proud.
“I believe in God’s perfect timing kasi ngayon nakalaro ako and I was able to contribute para makuha namin ‘yung goal namin. I’m just very happy na all my coaches and my teammates really trust me,” the La Salle great expressed.
Ramil De Jesus summed up Cruz’s performance perfectly.
“Ganyan naman ‘yan si Cha,” quipped the multi-time champion coach. “Kahit anong ibigay mo sa kanyang role, gagawin niya without hesitation. Laging ready ‘yan.
“Wala na ‘rin sigurong nagulat sa mga ginawa niya ngayong Finals.”