By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Call him Captain Clutch or any moniker you want, but man, who doesn’t love Aaron Jeruta returning home to the Iloilo United Royals?
After spending the past season with the Bacoor Strikers during the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) last year, the United Royals confirmed that Jeruta will be with Iloilo again in the upcoming 2024 conference last January 25, 2024.
In an official Facebook post uploaded by the Iloilo United Royals, the MPBL franchise welcomed back the veteran Ilonggo point guard.
The United Royals posted Jeruta’s picture donning the Iloilo jersey with the caption: “Home sweet home. Aaron Jeruta will return to the Royals.”
One of the pioneer members when Iloilo debuted in the MPBL five years ago, Jeruta became the team’s starting ball hander aside from Jasper Parker.
Perhaps his most memorable performance as a member of the United Royals was against the Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines in a home game held at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City last 2020.
With 12 seconds left, the homegrown captain sized up Robin Roño, drove hard to his left, and kissed the game-winning lay-up off the glass snapping the Iloilo United Royals’ two-game losing skid.
The win also halted Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines’ four-game winning streak off a brilliant comeback victory, trailing by as much as 12, while also helping Iloilo notch its first-ever victory in front of their Ilonggo fans.
During his stint with Bacoor, Jeruta helped the squad enter the grand finals stage but eventually lost at the hands of the Pampanga Giant Lanterns.