CHOT Reyes was delighted to see Carl Bryan Cruz rise to the challenge and live up to the expectations the Gilas Pilipinas coach has for the young forward.
Cruz scored 22 points and made some key baskets in Gilas' 105-101 victory over Blackwater at the Meralco Gym on Friday.
Reyes has entrusted Cruz with the stretch four role, a position that was masterfully played by Ranidel de Ocampo for the national team in the past few years.
Cruz responded by making five three pointers, two of which coming in the final two minutes to fend off a late uprising from the Elite.
"Carl Cruz plays the role of Ranidel de Ocampo in this team. He knows what's expected of him, the key now for CBC is to be able to do that on a consistent basis," Reyes said.
Cruz, however, deflected praise for his big game and smooth transition to the system that they have been running - the dribble drive offense.
The Alaska forward said that he was just merely taking what's being given to him - and luckily for him, nearly everything's been going in.
"Well naglaro lang. Naging flow ko lang talaga yung sa offense namin. Right time tsaka right spot talaga. Lahat bumabagsak," said Cruz.
"Yun yung beauty ng dribble-drive, lagi ako naoopen tsaka yung iba kong teammates. Feeling ko progressing yung team namin every game. Nagiimprove kami individually, tsaka sa depensa nagiimprove kami," he added.
The former FEU standout said he’ll continue to keep taking the opportunities given to him as long as it’s within the flow of their offense.
"Every time naman ganun mindset ko eh, palaging positive lang ako, aggressive lang ako lalo na sa offense na tinatakbo namin," he said.
"Ready lang ako. Yung pag-shoot, darating na lang din talaga yun."
Hopefully, this will be a start of a string of impressive games for him, which in turn validate his spot in the national team.
"Every practice, every game, gusto ko i-prove sa kanila na deserving ako rito sa Gilas. Gusto ko maipakita sa kanila na pinagtatrabuhan ko yung slot," said Cruz.