Point center for Blackwater

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Early bird PBA second conference import arrival Cameron Krutwig made a name for himself in the US NCAA circuit as a passing center and Blackwater coach Ariel Vanguardia said the other day its the reason why the Bossing sought him out for the Commissioners Cup.

Krutwig, 23, played four years with the Loyola University Chicago varsity, leading the Ramblers to the Final Four in 2018 and Sweet 16 in 2021. Hes only the fourth player in Missouri Valley Conference history to register at least 1,500 points, 800 rebounds and 300 assists, joining Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird and former NBA guard Hersey Hawkins. From school, Krutwig saw action for the Telenet Giants Antwerp in the Belgian league.

I followed Loyola when they went to the Final Four and liked the way they ran their offense with Cameron,” said Vanguardia. “Hes a 6-10 big guy who passes the ball. Actually, Yousef Taha plays like him. Cameron will be our point center.  Weve got the option to play Yousef and Cameron together or alternate for each other. Camerons not your typical import wholl give you lots of points but hes capable of doing a triple double. He was bulky in college but hes trimmed down.”

Vanguardia said Blackwaters jackrabbit start in the PBA Philippine Cup showcased what the team is capable of achieving. The Bossing surged to 5-1 then suffered a spate of injuries, losing six in a row. The consolation was making it to the quarterfinals. In the previous conference, Blackwater was 1-10. Losing starters Taha and Josh Torralba to injuries contributed to the slide. During the conference, Taha underwent a PRP for a knee issue then went out for good with a fractured left hand. Torralba suffered a muscle tear in his thigh and sat out the last three games. Vanguardia said guards Jvee Casio and Baser Amer played hurt but soldiered on. Casio had discomfort in his ankle and Amer, his calf. Then, prized rookie Ato Ular skipped a contest after testing positive for COVID. Another hotshot rookie Brandon Rosser was poked in the eye and hardly played in Blackwaters quarterfinal outing against San Miguel Beer.

Bad luck appeared to haunt Blackwater down the stretch and the team had its Quezon City practice facility re-blessed after a 47-year-old man died in the gym playing basketball. But thats all in the past and the Bossing is back healthy. “We went through a lot of adjustments last conference like Brandon got used to the 3x3 pace so always nagmamadali,” said Vanguardia.  “Josh wont be ready ‘til October but Yousef should be OK when the season starts Sept. 21. The key is to keep our core. Dami ng team lumiligaw kay Ato but we want to keep him. Hes a hard worker. With Ato, Brandon, Yousef, Jvee, Baser, Rashawn (McCarthy), Rey (Suerte) and the rest of the guys, well be competitive.”

Vanguardia said Jollo Go remains with the team but was allowed to finish his commitments with Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League. Trying out for spots are Jammer Jamito, Vince Tolentino and 6-1 California Polytechnic guard Kyle Toth. “Were looking for a tall small forward to take Joshs spot in the meantime,” he said. “We want to get deeper and with Cameron, we hope to make it to the playoffs again.”



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