When the Blackwater Elite flew to Macau last July to compete in the Asia League’s Summer Super 8, they weren’t complete. They left out big men Rabeh Al-Hussaini and James Sena and guard Mark Cruz, as they only needed 12 men then.
“Sabi rin nila twelve players lang magagamit. Ang wala: Ako, James, and Rabeh. So kailangan magsit-out muna that time,” recalled the diminutive Cruz.
“Nung last ‘di ako nakasama. Parang napahinga ako nun, kasi yung wife ko nanganak, kaya nagpaalam ako,” shared Sena, on the other hand.
Fortunately for Cruz and Sena, they will now be able to experience what it’s like playing in Macau, particularly at the Macao East Asian Games Dome.
The duo have been lent by Blackwater to another Dioceldo Sy-owned ball club, the iECO Green Warriors, who will be waving the Philippine flag in another Asia League-hosted tourney, the Terrific 12, happening from September 18 to 23.
Both Cruz and Sena are excited for the opportunity, saying that the Terrific 12 will help them build confidence that they can bring in the PBA.
“Kami ni James kailagan lang namin ienjoy lang to. I mean, dagdag experience, kumpiyansa siyempre sa sarili. Tingnan natin kung ano magiging outcome nito,” said Cruz, the 30th overall pick of the 2015 Draft.
“Pangkuha ko ‘to ng kumpiyansa kasi sa Blackwater medyo limited yung playing time ko kasi may import. Kaya magandang opportunity ‘to sakin para sa next conference, sa all-Filipino,” said Sena, the ninth overall pick in 2009.
They will be joining a team that is composed of PBA D-League stars, a few ASEAN Basketball League standouts, and two American reinforcements. So for Cruz, he hopes that they will be able to be of help for them.
“I hope may matutunan sila sa’min ni James.”
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