Basketball player Jervy Cruz has already gotten used to the loud cheers and the admiration of fans whenever his team, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, plays at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games.
But the 30-year old athlete shares that just like many other successful players in his industry, he had also endured so much just to get where he is now. “Sobrang blessed ako kasi narating ko ang narating ko (I am blessed to be where I am now),” he said. “Galing akong probinsya pero pangarap ko lang talaga maging isang PBA player (I came from the province but I really wanted to be a PBA player).”
Cruz recalled that he started regularly playing basketball back in highschool (in Nueva Ecija) and was already dead-set on his dreams that time. However, he admitted that back then, he thought it was not possible to attain his ambition.
Working hard for his goal
In college, Cruz became more disciplined as he further held on to his dream of making it big in the industry. “Nung nag college ako, 4 a.m. pa lang gising na ako, tapos Team B ako ng 4 years. So feeling ko, bakit ganoon (In college, I usually get up by 4 a.m. though I was just playing for Team B for 4 years. I was wondering why I wasn’t given the big break).”
Despite that, Cruz never doubted his skills. He kept his unwavering faith and kept the dream alive. “Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko pag susuko na ako: konti na lang, kaya ko pa, kaya ko pa ito (I used to tell myself whenever I feel like giving up: I can do this).”
It took several years for Cruz to finally get the break he had been aspiring for. The first one came when was tapped to join the University of Santo Tomas (UST) basketball team for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). After college, he played with another team before finally landing it big with Barangay Ginebra.
Inspiring younger basketball players
Having accomplished a dream that most young basketball players aspire for, Jervy has made it his advocacy to inspire more young players to hold on to that dream. He has become the voice for Under Armour’s latest program, FIBA 3×3 U18 Asia Cup.
3×3 basketball, or streetball, is the largest urban team sport in the world. With 12-second shot clock and 10-minute or first team to earn 21 points format, the games are usually fast, accessible, and entertaining for players and audience alike. The format made its global competitive debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore and the World Champions have been regularly organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) since then.