Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times


Carl Cruz surprised after being named to FIBA Asia Cup squad

“Pagtatrabahuhan ko yun.”

During the 39th William Jones Cup in Taiwan a week ago, Carl Cruz was having a little chit-chat with a member of the press during Gilas’ break. Cruz then asked that same person regarding the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, if he has a chance to crack into the Lebanon-bound team.

“Depende eh. Baka puro beterano na ipadala dun?” replied the media practitioner.

The 25-year-old Alaska Aces rookie, who, a few weeks prior to the Jones Cup, had also been named to the national squad set to defend the country’s gold medal in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, then paused for a while, trying to fathom the response he had just heard.

“Pagtatrabahuhan ko yun,” answered Cruz, with willingness and hunger all in his eyes.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes, just this past Wednesday night, took to Instagram to announce the lineup specifically built for the biennial continental meet. It may be just a simple post, but for Cruz, it was a wish granted — a culmination of one of his dreams.

The Far Eastern University Tamaraw saw his name on the lineup, along with the likes of veterans Jayson Castro, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Raymond Almazan, and Terrence Romeo. As he saw his name along with the country’s best, Cruz was nothing but surprised.

“Actually ‘di ko nga ine-expect eh,” said the Quezon City resident, after Gilas’ practice Thursday night at the Upper Deck Gym in Pasig.

“Sa 24 (players) na nasa pool, feeling ko malayo talaga ako. So nung inannounce ni Coach Chot, talagang ‘di ako makapaniwala.”

And Cruz believes that his decent showings in Taipei last week, where he played all nine games and averaged 7.2 points on 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc to go with 1.6 rebounds, played a huge factor as to why he was named by Reyes to the team.

“Sa tingin ko yun yung big factor kaya ako nakapasok sa lineup,” Cruz opined.

After being named to the squad set for Beirut in August, Cruz is about to perform triple duties for the country — first in the Jones Cup, next in the FIBA Asia Cup, and third in the SEA Games. It is obviously a tiring haul, but Cruz does not think anything of it.

#ReadMore  Kobe Paras shows wares, wows crowd in Gilas' 95-point drubbing of Myanmar

“Nakakapagod, pero yung mga ganitong opportunity, bibihira lang eh,” stated Cruz, who has been with the program since 2016, right after his stint with the Cafe France Bakers in the PBA D-League. “Kumbaga, bihira lang dumating sa buhay mo. ‘Di mo na iindahin yung pagod basta para lang sa bayan.”

Now that he has earned his place to the team, Cruz could not wait any longer to strut his stuff on the court and prove the doubters wrong, that he is deserving of the spot given to him.

“Basta sa’kin, gagawin ko lang part ko, yung pinapagawa lang sakin ni Coach Chot. Tsaka ibibigay ko lang best ko.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

You May Also Like

2023 FIBA World Cup

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has registered 21 players for Gilas Pilipinas’ pool in the FIBA portal for the upcoming second window of the...

2023 FIBA World Cup

Looking at TNT’s lineup there are four must-haves for Gilas Pilipinas when it heads to the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers later this...


All the memories he had with Gilas Pilipinas came rushing back to Carl Bryan Cruz the moment he saw Chot Reyes and his old...


The Philippine Basketball Association has approved the trade that sends Carl Cruz to TNT from Blackwater. However, the league’s trade committee made a revision....


Carl Cruz is in for a reunion with Chot Reyes. Blackwater will trade Carl Cruz to TNT, according to multiple sources closely monitoring the...


NLEX finally put an end to its three-game slide by handing the hapless Blackwater a historic defeat, 90-73, in the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine...


Things got a bit chippy between Phoenix Super LPG and Blackwater late in the first quarter of their 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup tussle,...


Carl Cruz did not expect to be tested right away as he played his first game back for Blackwater after a long while, Wednesday....