Cruz and Nambatac say Letran has the best backcourt in NCAA

Tricia Robredo on Jul 24, 2015 12:17 AM
Cruz and Nambatac say Letran has the best backcourt in NCAA
SMOTHER BROTHERS. Mark Cruz and Rey Nambatac form the head of Letran's unforgiving full-court press.

If the Golden State Warriors have the Steph Curry-Klay Thompson tandem, the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights have Mark Cruz and Rey Nambatac.

After leading their team to the championship, Golden State's backcourt has a claim to be the best backcourt in the NBA. In the same light, being at the forefront of league-leading Letran's attack definitely places the Cruz-Nambatac tandem atop the discussion about the best backcourt in the NCAA.

Do they agree? "Sa tingin ko, oo," Nambatac told ABS-CBN Sports.

After acting surprised about his backcourt-mate's answer, Cruz seconded the statement by saying, "Sinabi niya yun? Pero oo, sa tingin ko rin."

Leaving us no other choice but to agree, the chemistry between Rey and Mark was very crucial in Letran's huge win against title contender University of Perpetual Help last Thursday.

That chemistry is rooted from way back in their NCAA Juniors days with the Letran Squires, when Mark was graduating and Rey was still a rookie. Although they only shared a year playing together in high school, their early partnership has proven to be one of their current squad's biggest assets.

That’s why Rey thought of having a little reminiscing with his senior before the ongoing season started. “Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Naalala mo pa ba yung dating tayo sa Juniors? Pwede natin ibalik yun. Yun yung strength noon at baka malaki ang maitulong ngayon,'” he recalled.

Having lost that chemistry in the past years, the two worked on finding  their on-court connection during the offseason. "Nangapa ulit kami pero ngayon medyo nakapag-adjust na ulit," Nambatac said.

While head coach Aldin Ayo's non-stop full-court press has confounded the league, Cruz and Nambatac's rediscovered chemistry has been the lifeblood of their offense. “We won’t be 5-0 kung wala yung tiwala. Nakukuha namin yung blessings ngayon dahil doon,” Nambatac said.

He also added, “Alam namin sa isa’t-isa kung kailan kami titira, kung kailan papasa. Tapos halimbawa sa fast break, po-position na ako kasi alam kong hahanapin niya ako.”

Mark, on the other hand, talked about the brotherhood they have on and off the court by saying, “Kakaiba rin samahan tapos bonding namin. Para kaming magkapatid.”

As for how they’ve attained that level of understanding inside the court, Cruz told ABS-CBN Sports that it’s something they also practice. “Sa training, feed ko siya, feed niya rin ako. Lumalabas naman sa laro namin,” he said.

After being given the nickname Ant-man, Mark likens his partner to another superhero – Superman as he said, “Rey Nambatac is parang Superman. Lakas niya talaga. Strength niya, kahit undersized sa ibang guards, kayang dalhin.”

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