Letran's Mark Cruz (L) dribbles against Arellano's John Pinto (R). Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Letran co-captain Mark Cruz was named the NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week after coming through with a career-game in the Knights' recent 84-77 overtime win over the Jose Rizal Heavy Bombers in the Season 90 tournament.
One of the smallest players in the league today, Cruz towered above everyone else and burned Jose Rizal University for a career-high 26 points – including 10 in overtime.
"He's one of the two leaders of this team and he knows the guys rely on him when it comes to crunch time," said Letran coach Caloy Garcia.
Cruz shone brightest in overtime, when he made a pair of three-pointers to give Letran the lead and then sank four free throws that sealed JRU's doom.
The victory allowed Letran to remain in the Final Four hunt and helped Cruz beat Perpetual Help's Gab Dagangon and St. Benilde's Paolo Taha for the weekly plum.
Cruz's recent effort ended a string of subpar performances and frustration as the Knights struggled in the first round.
"I just didn't give up on myself and the team," said Cruz. "We kept the faith."