Outside of Beau Belga and Bruno Sundov, it was really hard to expect much from the other Rain or Shine big men this conference, as there just won’t be enough minutes to go around. However, I didn’t fully subscribe Cruz into that line of thinking simply because the former UST star is one of the most underrated, underused and under-appreciated players in the Rain or Shine roster. Even with limited minutes this past conference, I expected Cruz to be an integral part of Rain or Shine’s success. Was I asking too much from him? Let’s take a look at how it all played out below.
In 16 minutes per game, Jervy Cruz was Rain or Shine’s most effective player on offense. His Offensive Rating (ORTG) of 112 is the highest among any Elasto Painter and his Effective Field Goal % (eFG%) of 48.2% as well as True Shooting (TS%) of 52.2% are also among team leaders. He was also respectable on the boards, averaging 4.4 rebounds per game and grabbing 12.5% of total available rebounds when he was on the floor. Going back to his offensive game, he was able to excel by being the team’s best local back to the basket scorer, while also being able to consistently hit mid-range jumpers and finish put-backs. His offensive game just looks smooth and is predicated on smarts and skill over speed and quickness. More impressively, Cruz’s effectiveness on the court goes way beyond his ability to generate points for himself. His contributions to Rain or Shine’s overall performance as a team this conference is second only to Bruno Sundov as evidenced by his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 18.4 (Paul Lee is third at 16). With all that working in Cruz’s favor, why didn’t he see more court time for the painters?
For all his offensive prowess, Jervy Cruz’s defensive game is still a work in progress. The middling Rain or Shine defense this conference took a hit at times whenever Jervy was on the floor. With most teams preferring to cross-match their imports on defense to protect against foul trouble, Cruz often found himself having to guard players that were bigger, faster and stronger than him. Probably the biggest knock on Cruz on the defensive end would be his lack of athleticism. He just does not have the speed, agility and physical strength right now to keep up with imports and other elite PBA big men. Just think about it this way: Jervy Cruz and Gabby Espinas, both are almost equal in terms of height and weight, but we saw Espinas use his athleticism and physicality to disrupt and limit Vernon Macklin in the Commissioner’s Cup finals – something that I just don’t think Cruz is capable of doing at this point.
With more minutes, Cruz definitely has the ability to make Rain or Shine an even better team. I understand Coach Yeng’s hesitation to give him more minutes because of his defense but to me, it’s a risk worth taking. Cruz just brings another dimension to the Rain or Shine attack that Quinahan, Rodriguez and even Belga can’t offer. Besides, sometimes, the best way to learn is through a baptism of fire, right? Maybe that’s what he needs to turn that defensive switch on. At the end of the day, I would like to believe that Coach Yeng knows what he has in Cruz and that he may just give him the chance this coming conference to cement himself as one of the league’s premier big men.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Approval Ratings
|Larry Rodriguez||Ty Tang||Ronnie Matias||Jireh Ibanes||Jervy Cruz|
|Chris Tiu||Beau Belga||Ryan Arana||JR Quinahan||Paul Lee|