PBA: Broken nose led Jericho Cruz to basketball away from MMA
Paul Kennedy Lintag on Jul 29, 2020 12:01 PM
If not for a broken body and a timely intervention from a family member, Cruz could've been fighting inside a cage now instead of playing on the court. (Photo by Josh Albelda)
If you even think about messing with Jericho Cruz, do yourself a favor and just don't.
As it turns out, the former PBA champion with Rain or Shine and current NLEX guard used to do Mixed Martial Arts.
If not for a broken nose and a timely intervention from a family member, Cruz could've been fighting inside a cage now instead of playing on the court.
"Dati talaga favorite sport ko MMA eh. Nasa training ako nun, nasira yung ilong ko sa sparring. Hanggang ngayon bali pa to, di pa naayos," Cruz recalled on Extra Rice with former teammate Beau Belga.
"Pag-uwi ko, nag-away kami ng mommy ko, tigilan ko na daw yung ganung sport, mag-hanap na lang ng iba. Dun ko nakahiligan ang basketball," he added.
Cruz's MMA days started when he was young and it ended early enough that gave him enough time to transition well into basketball, which later turned out to be his professional career.
"High school ako nun, siguro mga first year o second year high school. Since elementary ako nagte-training na ako eh, umangat na lang," he said.
After high school, Jericho found himself at Adamson to play in the UAAP and got drafted into the PBA.
Eventually, Cruz was part of Rain or Shine's 2016 Commissioner's Cup champion team and was the PBA Most Improved Player the same year.
"Never ako nagka-award sa UAAP, pero pagdating ko sa PBA under Coach Yeng [Guiao], nanalo ako," Cruz said.
"Yun pinaka-memorable. Tsaka syempre unang championship ko sa PBA. Second year ko sa PBA, 2016," he added.
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