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CBC banks on familiarity in new chapter with TNT

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

The 30-year-old forward got reunited with some of the people he went to many battles with the national team not so long ago, as the PBA on Friday finally approved the trade that officially sent him to the TNT Tropang Giga.

He was sent in exchange for Jay Washington and a pair of future second-round picks, getting moved for the second time in his ongoing six-year career.

“Nung nakita ko siya kanina, maraming nag-flashback sa akin, ‘lalo yung samahan namin sa Gilas,” Cruz told Tiebreaker Times, as he met his new team on the same day the league gave its nod to the deal that underwent revisions.

“Lalo na, nandoon pa sina [Roger] Pogoy, kuya Jayson [Castro]. ‘Yung mga memories namin — wins, losses, lahat ng nangyari sa amin,” he added.

Cruz was initially part of the amateur-laden Gilas 5.0 in 2016. From there, he emerged as a key part of the program in a stint highlighted by a gold medal finish in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.2017-Jones-Cup-Gilas-def-Iraq-Carl-Cruz CBC banks on familiarity in new chapter with TNT Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

His time wearing the national tri-colors also saw him become a member of the squad that saw action in the FIBA World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers. It didn’t last long, though, due to that infamous incident in Bocaue in the third window.

That was July of 2018. And that also proved to be the last time he would be with Reyes and Co., as they were never called back for service.Gilas-practice-Carl-Bryan-Cruz-4691 CBC banks on familiarity in new chapter with TNT Basketball News PBA  - philippine sports news

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As fate would have it, however, the two are set to work together once again three years later. And Cruz couldn’t contain his excitement, as he is going to play under someone who knows him so well.

Familiarity is truly huge for the sweet-shooting big man in TNT. Aside from the Gilas guys, he’s also reunited with Ping Exciminiano and Gryann Mendoza — his good pals since their Far Eastern University days.

It isn’t lost on him that he would need to work double time to brush up on his knowledge of Reyes’ system. But having them around would make it so much easier for him, according to the two-time All-Star.

“Familiarity-wise, okay ako kasi nakasama ko na rin sila. So sa tingin ko, mas mabilis akong magiging komportable,” Cruz offered.

“Kasi ‘pag kaka-trade mo lang, panibagong adjustment sa environment na naman. Pero dito sa TNT, nandito pa sina Ping Exciminiano, Gryann Mendoza, so halos lahat pamilyar — may FEU boys, may Gilas boys.

“So tingin ko, mas madali na ako makaka-cope sa environment; sa bonding mas mabilis,” he added. “So, ‘yung minor adjustments na lang.”

The former Gilas draftee is now with his third team. Now, he hopes that TNT will be the organization he can finally settle in and call home.

“Hopefully,” Cruz said.

“Sana talaga, magtagal. Kung pwede nga lang, dito na for my entire career eh. Sana, dito na talaga.”

Written By

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

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