Team captain off the bench? No problem for Letran’s Cruz
Tricia Robredo on Jun 12, 2015 09:11 PM
SPARKPLUG CAPTAIN. Letran team captain Mark Cruz doesn't mind coming off the bench to provide the second wind needed to sustain the Knights' attack.
When you talked about the Letran Knights a few years back, one of the faces that would come to mind is that of Mark Cruz’s.
He isn’t the tallest point guard in the team, more so in the NCAA, but his spunk and spirit definitely compensate for what he lacks in height. Even when he was new in the collegiate scene, he immediately showed everyone what small and terrible was all about.
In his last playing year, Mark now carries the responsibility of being the captain ball. Once a constant presence in the starting five, however, he now plays off the bench.
Asked how he felt about the new arrangement, he shared that he’s already gotten used to it after former coach Caloy Garcia also made this tweak the year before.
Mark admitted to have felt a little strange at the beginning, but soon realized that it was a sacrifice he had to make. It wasn’t some sort of demotion or punishment for his performance and was merely a necessity for the team to get more energy off the bench.
“Eventually, ‘di na rin naman magma-matter kung magsisimula ka o hindi. Iisipin mo nalang kung paano ka makakatulong para manalo kayo,” he said. Tracing back to when this rotation was first tested in Season 90, the Knights won over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals so perhaps Mark’s generous act wasn’t for naught after all.
Last season’s campaign, however, wasn’t exactly Letran’s best. In fact, it was quite frustrating as the red and blue failed to make it into the Final Four.
Although he wouldn’t have wanted to experience such disappointment, Mark still believes it served its purpose. “Personally, kinailangan ko rin mag-mature. Sa pinagdaanan namin, tingin ko naman natuto rin ako – how to keep going, how to handle pressure sa loob at labas ng court, sa basketball at sa labas ng basketball,” he shared.
Now wiser, Mark vows to bring the lessons he learned as he tries to carry his squad back into contention and back to their glory days for one last time.