ART dela Cruz found his stroke on Valentine’s Day, providing timely long-range offense for Blackwater in its 11-102 win over Mahindra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The rookie forward buried three three-pointers, the last of which gave the Elite a 102-91 lead with a little over two minutes left, enough cushion to secure their first victory this conference.
‘Sabi nga ng teammates ko, hindi ‘Hearts Day’ kundi ‘Art’s Day’ daw eh,” said Dela Cruz, who finished with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, four boards, four steals, and two assists.
The former San Beda standout admitted there was a conscious effort to take long-range shots as he slides to the small-forward spot from time to time in this import-dominated conference.
“Kinausap kasi ako ni coach na itong conference na may import, kailangan ko mag-adjust as three (small forward),” Dela Cruz said.
“I think I need that to develop more, kasi sa PBA, hindi naman akp puwedeng always four spot eh,” he added. “I need to improve my skills and shooting. Eventually, feeling ko magiging three spot talaga ako eh.”
Dela Cruz’s hard work paid off on Sunday and he dedicated his performance to his family, including his father and namesake, who watched from the stands.
“Walang specific, para sa family ko yun,” he said with a smile.