Rookie Carl Bryan Cruz glad to feel the love from Alaska fans ahead of PBA debut
Freshman Carl Bryan Cruz is welcomed by Alaska Aces fans. Jaime Campos 

CARL Bryan Cruz already feels like he belongs even before he plays his first official game as he spent time with appreciative Alaska fans during a preseason event on Friday.

In a program attended by hundreds of fans at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City, Cruz participated in parlor games with Aces fans - a welcome break from intense preparations for his PBA debut.

"Pressure din sakin kasi malaki rin pala itong Alaska community. Marami ring umaasa at nagtitiwala so sana makapag-deliver ako ng maayos," said Cruz, the lone pickup of the Aces during the draft last October 30.

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Fortunately for the former Far Eastern University stalwart, the veterans are helping make things easier. 

"Oo napapadali yung transition ko sa tulong nila," said Cruz. 

"As of now naga-adjust pa ako. Kasi iba yung level ng PBA e, iba sa D-League at Gilas. So dito very grateful ako na mabait sila Kuya Calvin (Abueva), Kuya Dondon (Hontiveros) tsaka coaches, gina-guide nila ako," he said.

But is Cruz, an MVP candidate in the PBA D-League last season, expecting to make an immediate impact in the big league?

"Hindi ako nage-expect ng malaking bagay, basta ready lang ako pag ginamit ako ni coach," he said. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros