A MEMBER of the Letran coaching staff believes Mark Cruz will flourish in the new system of the Star Hotshots once he begins his PBA career.
Cruz was selected in the third round of the PBA Rookie Draft by Star, which is going through a transition from the triangle offense of Tim Cone to the run-and-gun system of new head coach Jason Webb.
Letran assistant coach Louie Gonzales said he believes the NCAA Finals MVP is going to be a perfect fit for to Star since the Hotshots has a style of play similar to the Knights.
“He will fit sa Star especially na nakita naman natin ‘yung laro ni coach Jason Webb, halos pareho ang sistema. Run and gun, takbo ng takbo,” Gonzales said on Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
“Basta open court ang laro, hindi magiging hadlang kay Mark ‘yan,” the Letran assistant coach added.
Cruz was one of the key pieces in Letran's title campaign in Season 91 of the NCAA, helping the Knights end a 10-year title drought with a victory over five-time champion San Beda in classic finals that went the distance.
At 5-foot-5 one of the shortest players in the pro league, Cruz, who is become known as the ‘Ant Man,’ is expected to play behind established Star point guards Mark Barroca and Justin Melton.
Gonzales, however, believes that Cruz’s basketball IQ will help him in the pro ranks.
“Sinasabi nga namin kay Mark Cruz, kung sa school set-up, si Mark Cruz, summa cum laude,” Gonzales said. “Mark knows kung papaano mag-take advantage. Hindi ‘yung disadvantage.”
Cruz will be joined in the PBA by his Letran teammate Kevin Racal, who, according to Alaska assistant coach Louie Alas, will also thrive with the Aces once he joins the team.
Gonzales agrees with Alas’ sentiments.
“I think it will be also be an easy transition for him (Racal) kasi halos pareho ang ginagawa namin sa Alaska na depensa and fullcourt pressure,” said Gonzales.