Underrated Carl Bryan Cruz seizes opportunity while playing in shadows of Belo, Tolomia
Carl Bryan Cruz has made the Tamaraws more unpredictable this season, thanks to his improved outside shooting and timely baskets. Jerome Ascano

FAR Eastern University hero Carl Bryan Cruz said he is merely taking advantage while opposing defenses put so much attention on the Tamaraws' dynamic duo of Mark Belo and Mike Tolomia.

That was what happened on Sunday when Belo (23 points) and Tolomia (18 points) pounded the National University Bulldogs early before Cruz took over in the endgame to lead the Tamaraws to a 74-70 overtime victory in the UAAP men's basketball tournament.

The underrated Cruz scored nine points against the Bulldogs, most of them coming when FEU needed the points most. He hit the crucial basket that sent the game into overtime before connecting on another jumper that gave the Tamaraws a 72-68 cushion.

“Nagco-collapse ang defense kila Belo and Tolomia. Kapag nakaka-cut ako, blessing siguro na nakaka-shoot ako. Masarap sa feeling (kapag nakakatulong sa team),” said Cruz.

Cruz is the Tamaraws' team captain this year and has liked the fact that the team has become a lot more unpredictable after the departure of now pros Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia.

“Nawala ‘yung mga main man namin pero naging unpredictable ‘yung team namin. Hindi nila alam kung sino ang mag-step up. Everybody can step up,” said Cruz, who has improved his outside shooting in the offseason.

FEU coach Nash Racela has been emphasizing the need for the Tamaraws to play consistent basketball every game. Cruz said the team is trying its best to heed Racela’s call.

“Napag-usapan na namin ‘yun after the game against Adamson. We try to change. Mabuti at nadala namin sa game (against NU),” said Cruz.

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