The low-lying energy spectrum of the extremely neutron-deficient self-conjugate (N = Z) nuclide Ru-88(44)44 has been measured using the combination of the Advanced Gamma Tracking Array (AGATA) spectrometer, the NEDA and Neutron Wall neutron detector arrays, and the DIAMANT charged particle detector array. Excited states in Ru-88 were populated via the Fe-54(Ar-36, 2n gamma)Ru-88* fusion-evaporation reaction at the Grand Accelerateur National d'Ions Lourds (GANIL) accelerator complex. The observed gamma-ray cascade is assigned to Ru-88 using clean prompt gamma-gamma-2-neutron coincidences in anticoincidence with the detection of charged particles, confirming and extending the previously assigned sequence of low-lying excited states. It is consistent with a moderately deformed rotating system exhibiting a band crossing at a rotational frequency that is significantly higher than standard theoretical predictions with isovector pairing, as well as observations in neighboring N > Z nuclides. The direct observation of such a "delayed" rotational alignment in a deformed N = Z nucleus is in agreement with theoretical predictions related to the presence of strong isoscalar neutron-proton pair correlations.