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    Chongson worried Tanduay may be relying too much on crafty guard Mark Cruz

    Jan 30, 2017
    Mark Cruz plays steady throughout the match, but coach Lawrence Chongson is hoping to see a more balanced offense. Dante Peralta

    TANDUAY coach Lawrence Chongson was in no mood to celebrate even after seeing his gunner Mark Cruz finally getting comfortable with his new teammates in leading the Rhum Masters attack against Wangs on Monday in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.

    The former Phoenix guard fired 27 points and grabbed three rebounds as Tanduay barged into the winning column after its loss to Cafe France in the conference opener.

    "Unti-unti (nakaka-adjust na). Sana ito na yung start. Pero sinuwerte lang din siguro," said Cruz moments after the victory.

    But Chongson was left fuming after the Rhum Masters almost blew a 22-point lead and had to rely heavily on Cruz's 10 of his points in the fourth period to hang on to the win.

     "Sino magiging masaya, di ba?" the outspoken mentor said shortly after the match at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

    [See Mark Cruz, Bong Quinto show way as Tanduay defeats Wangs for first win in Aspirants Cup]

    "You can say na ginigising ko rin ang mga bata. I have 12 new players in my team. Maraming galing college kaya yung kultura namin, di pa nila nakukuha. We're not just after the win, we're after the standards. Not to undermine yung kalaban namin, pero lamang ka ng 20 pero pahahabulin mo," he added.

    Chongson lauded Cruz's herculean efforts, but warned his other players not to always rely on the former Phoenix guard.

    "Ayoko sya i-overwork. Di yun ang gusto ko, na siya lang ang magdadala," said Chongson.

    "With his built and his height, sooner or later, teams will wisen up to that. Yung challenge ko sa ibang players to step up at wag lang mag-rely sa kanya."

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    Cruz, though, vowed that kind of letdown won't happen again with him in charge. 

    "Di porke lamang kami ng malaki magre-relax kami. Mula umpisa hanggang matapos go hard kami dapat," said Cruz. "Sabi ni coach di dapat ganun kasi kung mas malakas na team kalaban namin baka natalo pa kami."

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    Mark Cruz plays steady throughout the match, but coach Lawrence Chongson is hoping to see a more balanced offense. Dante Peralta
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