Cruz becomes first Tiger MVP in 12 yrs
By Joey Villar
Jervy Cruz, who helped power University of Santo Tomas to its first UAAP crown in a decade last season, bagged this year’s MVP plum to become the first Tiger to win the coveted crown in 12 years.
The 21-year-old Cruz, who has blossomed into one of the league’s most formidable post-players and a vital cog in the RP team competing in this year’s SEA Games, will be named the Season 70 MVP in simple rites in Game 2 of the ongoing UAAP final between La Salle and University of the East.
“I’m happy,” the soft-spoken 6-foot-4 Cruz, a third year commerce student and a native of Nanticuan, Nueva Ecija, yesterday told The STAR in Filipino.
“But I would have been happier though had we won the title again,” added Cruz.
After a near improbable title run last year, the Tigers fell short of their bid this time, bowing to Ateneo in a Final Four showdown for the right to face La Salle for the No. 2 spot.
The last Tiger to win the MVP honors was Chris Cantonjos in 1995.
Cruz averaged 16.7 points to finish behind Adamson Falcon Patrick Cabahug’s 21.3 and National U Bulldog Edwin Asoro’s 17.6 while recording the league best 15.4 rebounds in spearheading the Tigers to the Final Four for the second year in a row.
Cruz, a first round pick by the Lina Group of Companies in the recent PBL rookie draft, said he hopes to win the gold medal next in the Southeast Asian Games.
“I hope we’ll win the gold,” Cruz said.
Cruz was way ahead in statistics with overall statistical points of 75.86, which comprised half of the criteria used in selecting the MVP.
Cruz also earned the nods of his co-players and the media to seal the highest individual plum.
Comprising the First Mythical squad are Cruz, La Salle’s Rico Maeirhofer and JV Casio, Ateneo’s Chris Tiu and University of the East’s Mark Borboran.
Tiu and Borboran reportedly eased out Cabahug and National U’s Edwin Asoro, who were coming in second and third places, respectively, in statistics, through player and media votes.