Huge role waiting for no. 9 pick Dela Cruz at Blackwater
While most would have preferred to play for the popular teams, San Beda forward Art dela Cruz wouldn’t have it in any other way.
Dela Cruz, who was projected to go as high as third, was drafted ninth overall by Blackwater. The Elite finished with the worst record last season.
“I expected to be a late first round pick but I didn’t expect that I will have a better opportunity with more playing time being drafted by Blackwater,” Dela Cruz told INQUIRER.net.
“I just have to prove that I deserve to be a first round choice and reward coach with the playing time he’s going to give me.”
Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac was shocked to see the 23-year-old Dela Cruz still available late in the first round.
“We expected that he’s going to go early in the first round. Rain or Shine shook up the draft after picking Ahanmisi at third and we’re happy with what happened,” Isaac said.
Isaac has nothing but high praise for Dela Cruz.
“He’s a natural forward and a natural scorer. His basketball intelligence is high and you know the kid has the potential to be a star,” Isaac said.
Isaac, who said his team was looking at Fil-Nigerian guard Maverick Ahanmisi at No. 9 before Rain or Shine made a bold move by picking him at third, expects the 6-foot-4 Dela Cruz to play a big role right away for the Elite.
“He’ll play huge role for us. He can play inside and out. For now, we don’t have a natural forward and we only have a combo forward.”
“We were stunned by Rain or Shine’s move but then again, we’re happy it turned out that way,” Isaac said.
After Dela Cruz, Blackwater went on to nab De La Salle’s Almond Vosotros and PBA D-Leaguer Jason Melano.
“I’m thankful that I’m joined with another rookie that I know with Almond. And we all know he’s a big-time player in college,” Dela Cruz said.
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