ANTIPOLO CITY – Carl Bryan Cruz is just ready to deliver when needed.
The sophomore big man made the most of the playing minutes given him by coach Alex Compton as he finished with 10 points off the bench in Alaska’s 100-71 rout of Magnolia in Game Three of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals at the Ynares Center Sunday night.
Cruz went 2-of-4 from three-point range and had seven in the second quarter when he helped the Aces take control of the match on the way to the 29-point blowout win that cut the Hotshots’ series lead at 2-1.
The product of Far Eastern University played a total of 15 minutes, the most he had with Alaska since being picked by the team as part of the Gilas Pilipinas draft pool.
Cruz said he hasn’t lost confidence despite being left out of Compton's regular rotation.
“Yun na lang ang naging motivation ko, patience at work hard every practice,” he said after the game. “Sa part ko, napakahirap talaga kasi hindi ako nakakalaro ng madalas. Kaya masaya na nabigyan ako ng opportunity na makapaglaro at makapag-deliver ng maayos.”
Cruz not only did his job offensively but defensively as well, holding his own against Magnolia veteran big man Rafi Reavis, who he engaged in a brief trash-talking in the second period.
“Part of the game lang naman yun,” he said. “Basta every time naman ready ako.”
Cruz, a key player in the old Gilas Pilipinas team of coach Chot Reyes, was praised by Compton in his post-game interview.
“Special shoutout to Carl Bryan Cruz, he’s done the work all year. You know in a conference like this, it’s always tough for bigs because you got Mike Harris playing usually 40 minutes a game,” he said.
"Bryan has been active in practice, listening and asking questions. I’m happy for him to get this kind of reward, just playing so well. He’s done a great good job. Really happy for him and proud of.”