It’s no secret that Carl Bryan Cruz is not getting the same minutes with the Alaska Aces as he did with Gilas Pilipinas.
The 6-foot-4 forward had often been a part of then-head coach Chot Reyes’s teams in the William Jones Cup and in the FIBA Asia Cup last year; as well as the first three windows of the FIBA World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers.
But whenever he comes back to his mother team, Cruz can often be spotted sitting on the end of the bench during games. Or even worse, he gets relegated to the injury/reserve list, depending on the coaches’ decision.
Despite that, the Far Eastern University product never complained. For him, it’s always about staying patient, hoping that his time will arrive.
“Sa part ko napakahirap talaga eh. ‘Di ako nakakalaro ng madalas. Ang motivation ko lang, stay patient at work hard lang,” said Cruz, who was the Aces’ selection in the special Gilas draft that took place back in 2016.
Game Three of their 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series versus the Magnolia Hotshots was Sunday nigiht, and with Aces’ backs were against the wall at 0-2. Cruz’s time to shine had come.
The 27-year-old sophomore led the Aces’ breakaway in the second quarter, as he scored seven in that chapter alone. Alaska never gave up that lead the rest of way, and eventually bagged a dominant 100-71 victory.
“Napakasaya at nabigyan ako ng opportunity na makapaglaro, makapag-deliver ng maayos,” said the 27-year-old stretch forward, who made 10 points on 57 percent shooting.
“Special shout-out to Bryan Cruz,” praised head coach Alex Compton. “He’s done the work all year.
“You know, in a conference like this, it’s always tough for bigs, because you got Mike Harris usually playing forty minutes a game.
“Bryan’s been active in practice – listening, asking questions, working hard. I’m really happy for him to get this kind of reward of just playing so well. He did a great job. I’m really happy for him, and I’m proud of him,” Compton added.
But more than his own outing, the resident of Novaliches is happy that Alaska were able to snag Game Three and avoid going down to a 0-3 hole – or the mountain would have been that much bigger.
“Napaka-crucial nitong Game Three kasi ‘pag naunahan kami ng Magnolia, talagang mabigat na sa’min para makabawi.”
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