CARL Bryan Cruz considers an injury setback last year that ruined his PBA Rookie Draft plans as a 'blessing in disguise' as the Gilas cadet looks forward to finally get a shot at playing in the PBA in the coming season.
Months after he finished his stint with Far Eastern University in the UAAP in 2014, Cruz's draft plan was all ironed out as he suited up for CafeFrance in the PBA D-League, only to suffer an ACL injury that sidelined him for six months.
"Grabe," said Cruz during the SLAM Draft Suite on Friday. "After kasi ng UAAP ko, pangit ng performance ko, tapos papa-draft sana ako, unfortunately, na-ACL ako bigla, hindi ako umabot sa draft day. Sobrang setback talaga."
However, Cruz now realized skipping last year's draft proved to be beneficial as it opened doors which weren't there before for the former FEU standout.
Cruz returned to CafeFrance in the PBA D-League where he began to regain his confidence. That ledf to an opportunity of the lifetime as he became one of the members of the Gilas cadets in the Fiba Asia Challenge a few months ago.
"Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa CafeFrance, coach Egay (Macaraya), boss JJ, na tinulungan nila ako. Pagbalik ko, wala pa akong kumpiyansa sa sarili ko pero pinush lang ako ni coach Egay, tapos na-develop ko naman sarili ko, nag-improve ako, napatunayan ko sa sarili ko na kaya ko," said Cruz.
Cruz said he is receiving advice from former FEU teammates, particularly Aldrech Ramos, ahead of his jump to the pro ranks.
"Sabi sa akin, i-develop ko raw 'yung dribbling ko at mag-adjust ako sa spot ko. Kasi daw pag-akyat ko daw, kapag power forward ako, undersized ako. Much better daw kung sa three spot ako maglaro," the 6-foot-5 Cruz said.