MANILA, Philippines – Much to the surprise of Filipino basketball fans, NLEX Road Warriors guard Jericho Cruz has been selected to play in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.
However, he won’t banner the 3 stars and a sun on his jersey this time around.
Instead, the 29-year-old product of Adamson University will represent Guam in FIBA’s first tournament of the decade, as Cruz actually holds Filipino-Northern Mariana Islands dual citizenship.
This is not the first time, however, that Cruz represented the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in international competition, as he already represented his other hometown in the 2008 FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament and the 2010 Micronesia Games.
But back in 2013, the 6-foot-1 guard represented the gold-winning Philippine team in the Southeast Asian Games.
For the FIBA Asia Cup, however, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has opted to kickstart its youth movement by tapping a plethora of amateur stars like Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liaño.
Joining Cruz in Guam’s roster, meanwhile, are other Fil-foreign UAAP stalwarts like fellow Adamsonian Will Stinnett and the University of the East’s Chris Conner.