ART dela Cruz is refusing to get frustrated that Blackwater has continued to lose despite him putting up improved numbers in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The rookie forward, this year’s ninth overall pick, has been slowly living up to his potential, tallying 13 points – although needing 16 attempts – seven boards, and three assists in 27 minutes in the Elite’s 109-98 loss to Talk ‘N Text on Wednesday.
“Iniisip ko na lang (na ipakita) yung mga individual skills ko,” Dela Cruz said. “Ayokong isipin na natatalo kasi maaapektuhan yung game mo pag inisip mo na every game talo.”
“It’s part of basketball,” the former San Beda stalwart added. “I came from a winning tradition pero ‘di naman parati at buong buhay mo panalo ka.”
The 6-foot-4 combo forward hopes his improved numbers would result in a victory for the Elite, who have yet to win with Dela Cruz in the lineup, having pulled off their only victory in six games before Dela Cruz joined from the Red Lions.
“Kung ano ang maitutulong ko sa team, yun lang. Kung kaya ko mabuhat yung buong team, gagawin ko,” the 23-year-old cager said. “Pero bata pa ako, kailangan ko lang makinig sa seniors.”
For now, Dela Cruz is thankful for gaining the trust of coach Leo Isaac.
“I'm getting my rhythm na kasi ang laki ng playing time na ibinibigay sa akin ni coach,” said the left forward, who had 15 points, four boards, and four steals in their loss to Rain or Shine last week.
“Laging sinasabi ni coach Leo na kunin ang rhythm at ipakita na ako talaga yung first pick ng team,” he added. Kumpyansa lang from coach, especially sa practice, pinapakita ko naman sa loob ng court. Thankful ako kasi kahit rookie ako, mataas na yung average ko at nakukuha ko na yung rhythm.”