Carl Bryan Cruz says sorry for hit on Iraqi: 'Di lang ako papayag na maagrabyado tayo'
Carl Bryan Cruz is restrained by Gilas teammates after getting hit in the face by an Iraqi elbow. He retaliated several plays later. Photo from CTBA

TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas bruiser Carl Bryan Cruz immediately said sorry after hammering an Iraqi player in retaliation for a cheap shot late in the two teams' highly physical Jones Cup match on Thursday night.

The hulking Alaska forward had earlier been the recepient of an elbow to the face from the towering Navid Khajehzadeh which had the Iraq center being slapped with a technical foul by the referees.

Several plays later, Cruz got back at the wiry Iraqi big man by hammering him with a forearm after getting faked off, sending Khajehzadeh to the floor.

Cruz was apologetic afterwards, saying he only wanted to stand up for his team.

"Oo inaamin ko, sa akin nagsimula yun. My bad. Pero di naman ako papayag na ma-argabyado tayo sa mga ganung laban," said the Gilas cadet.

"Inaamin ko, talagang naghanap ako ng timing (na balikan sya)."

[See Fuming Reyes orders Standhardinger back to dugout for 'cheap shot' on Iraq player]

Reyes made it clear he wasn't happy with what Cruz did as well as another 'cheap shot' delivered by Fil-German center Christian Standhardinger on Dhulfiqar Al-hchaimi.

"I didn't like some of the extra stuff that my other guys did so I took them out of the game. There's a fine line between being tough and being downright dirty and that's not us. That's not Gilas basketball," said Reyes.

"I told them in the huddle that we may lose the game but we're not going to play that way. We're going to be tough, we're going to be strong, we're going to be physical but we're not going to cross the line."

But even before Reyes could enter the locker room for the final huddle, a remorseful Cruz said he will say sorry to Reyes and the team at the first opportunity.

"Di ko pa nakakausap si Coach Chot, pero magso-sorry ako," he said. "Kung close game yun, hindi ko gagawin 'yun."

[See Gilas rediscovers shooting touch, dominates Iraq in hot-tempered match]

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