Carl Cruz hadn’t been in his usual self in the Alaska Aces’ previous outings.
In their matches versus the Magnolia Hotshots and the NLEX Road Warriors which both resulted to losses, the 6-foot-4 stretch forward only put up an average of 6.0 points, shooting just a total of 4-of-14 from the field.
On Friday though, Cruz had finally been able to break out of that slump.
The third-year pro out of Far Eastern University unloaded four shots from beyond the arc en route to 19 points and added five rebounds, an assist, and a steal in the Aces’ clash with the TNT KaTropa at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“Kahit naman umiskor ako ng twenty points, kung talo, pare, useless pa rin,” said a disappointed Cruz moments after the match.
“Mas gugustuhin ko pa na umiskor lang ako ng two points pero panalo yung team.”
Friday’s loss had been the Aces’ third straight. But as disappointing as the defeat had been, Cruz stuck to the positives, such as his side playing much better versus TNT compared to when the faced NLEX last Wednesday.
“Pinakapanget naming laro was against NLEX kasi wala kaming gana sa depensa. Tas yung identity ng Alaska talagang wala, as in wala. Yung defense namin patay. Ngayon binigyan kami ni coach Alex ng chance na makabawi.
“Sabi niya sa dugout mas gugustuhin niya pang matalo ng lumalaban kesa hindi,” said Cruz.
Alaska has now gone down to 3-5, and they have three more games to get their acts together to give themselves a better position for the quarterfinals. And for Cruz, there’s no more time left for the Milkmen to relax at this point.
“One game at a time. Every game na darating must win for us. Hindi kami pwede magrelax.”