STAR GUARDS: Mark Cruz gets up close with Steph Curry

Santino Honasan on Sep 06, 2015 01:14 AM
STAR GUARDS: Mark Cruz gets up close with Steph Curry
Letran's Mark Cruz says he patterns his game to NBA star Steph Curry's

Steph Curry isn’t the biggest guy on the court, but he gets it done.

Last year, the 6-foot-3 Golden State Warriors star point guard turned the season into his own personal highlight reel, leading the Dubs to their best franchise record and ultimately the NBA title.

Oh, and Steph was named the regular season’s Most Valuable Player, so, yeah, the guy knows how to win.

If you’ve been watching the NCAA this season (if you haven’t, you should), this sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? One of the smallest guys on the floor has been shooting the lights out and has kept his team on top of the standings.

And while there are tons of talented floor generals in the NCAA, only one of them has been knocking shots down like nobody’s business on the league’s best team.

We’re talking about Letran’s Mark Cruz.

Like Steph, Mark isn’t the biggest guy on the floor, but he surely knows how to get his shots and lead his team to victory.

Mark even does that little chest-pound-point-to-the-skies gesture that Steph does when he makes shots, and both of them are their respective league’s three-point shootout champion.

Steph and Mark are a lot alike as basketball players, that’s why it was pretty nice to see the two meet during Steph’s Under Armour Road Show stop here in Manila last Saturday.

Mark was invited by ABS-CBN as a part of a documentary that will be chronicling the NBA star’s visit in Manila. This meant that Mark would get a chance to meet Steph and get to ask him a question or two. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance that Mark wouldn’t pass up.

Actually hindi ko pa alam nung una na parang makakapag-interview daw kami, so na-shock ako nung nalaman ko. Sobrang kinabahan ako, na parang hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko, pero kaunti lang yung nabibigyan ng chance na ganito, so ginrab ko talaga,” Mark told ABS-CBN Sports before the event.

Actually, a day before the big event, Mark and his Letran Knights took on the Lyceum Pirates. Mark scored 26 points and knocked down eight three-pointers to lead the Knights to a win. He scored 17 points in the final six minutes of the game. Very Curry-esque, wouldn’t you say?

Could his incredible performance be attributed to the fact that he knew he’d be meeting Steph Curry the following day?

“Actually hindi ko masyado naisip yung game eh, mas naisip ko ‘tong araw na ‘to. Dito ako kinabahan, dun sa game hindi ako masyadong kinabahan.” Mark said with a laugh.

For the Letran guard, he says that he patterns his game to Steph’s, given that they’re both small guys.

“Para sa akin, kino-compare ko yung sarili ko sa shooting niya, kaya parang nag-fofocus ako sa shooting ko dahil, ‘yun nga, maliit ako, mas mahihirapan ako sa loob pag nag-penetrate ako. Yun yung mga highlights na pinapanood ko sa kanya, yung shooting.”

Aside from trying to pattern his game to Steph’s, what makes Mark a fan of the NBA star?

“Kapag napapanood ko siya sa NBA, na-aamaze talaga ako sa kanya. Aside from his shooting, yung ball-handling niya, kakaiba din eh, sobrang extra-ordinary, so pina-practice ko din yun, pero mahirap talagang gawin.”

Mark finally got to meet Steph, shake his hand and even got to ask him for some tips. After, we caught up with Mark again, and see how he was feeling.

“Parang ayaw ko na hugasan yung kamay ko eh! (Laughs) Hindi ko ma-explain, dahil after kong tanungin yung question ko, nung sinasagot na niya, nakatitig lang ako sa kanya, ni hindi ko na naririnig yung sinasabi niya, na-starstruck talaga ako.”

After getting to meet his idol, expect Mark to keep playing to win and to keep shooting like crazy. An inspired Mark Cruz could only mean good things for the Knights.

“Dagdag inspiration sa akin dahil I’m a big fan of him talaga, tapos na-meet ko pa, nakamayan ko pa, nakausap ko pa, so dagdag inspiration talaga, and I hope madeliver ko sa games ‘yun.”

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