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Big shoes to fill for Aces’ de la Cruz

By John Bryan Ulanday

A huge reponsibility awaits Barangay Ginebra forward Art de la Cruz once he gets on board from an injury in the upcoming 43rd Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season.
Getting the green light to play after an Achilles tendon injury, de la Cruz will be tested when he dons the Gin Kings' uniform for the season opener on December 17.
It would not be an easy transition, though, as Ginebra coach Tim Cone revealed de la Cruz would probably take the injured Joe Devance's spot in his rotation.
"I'm really pleased to have him. We think he’s going to make a big impact on our team and especially because Joe (Devance) is going to be out until February for his his surgery," Cone told the Daily Tribune.
Back in August, Ginebra had gambled on the injured de la Cruz after letting go of Chris Ellis in a trade with Blackwater.
"Malaking pressure 'yun (na i-fill yung spot ni kuya Joe). Pero I’m motivated because my teammates are giving me confidence. They’re allowing me to play my game," the former Red Lion de la Cruz said.
Devance injured his left foot during the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup and is expected to be out for at least three months.
"Art’s role will be very important to help us replace what Joe brings for us. He has similar skills as Joe's," Cone added of the 6'4 de la Cruz.
"He's so versatile, we don’t know where to play him. We don’t know whether to play him as our point guard, or our off guard or our small forward or the power forward, he can do it all. We’re just trying to figure out which one he’s strong at," Cone concluded.
Ginebra opens the season on December 25 with a Manila Clasico duel with the Magnolia Hotshots.

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