JERICHO Cruz gets to see action ahead of Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers if and when he makes the final 12-man roster of Guam in the opening window of the tournament.
The NLEX guard has been listed as part of Guam’s 20-man pool for the Feb. 20 and 23 window and already left for the US island territory this week to practice with the team bannered by former Road Warriors import Curtis Washington.
Guam will be hosting Hong Kong at the Yigo Village, Calvo Fieldhouse on Feb. 20, and unless a last-minute change in schedule is made, Cruz is on track to play ahead of Gilas Pilipinas, whose game opener against Thailand at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on the same day has been postponed owing to the threat of the coronavirus.
Cruz, born in Pasig but is a Filipino-Northern Mariana citizen, was given the blessing by his mother team NLEX to play for Guam, especially with the PBA 45th season yet to start until March 8.
“Pinayagan naman siya ng management and of course, with the approval of the PBA Commissioner’s Office din,” said NLEX executive Ronald Dulatre.
“We just ensured na complete and comprehensive din yung insurance niya. Mahirap na rin, hindi mo masabi kung biglang ma-injured during practice or sa game mismo.”
Dulatre said insurance coverage is standard for players whose services are tapped overseas, just like in the case of naturalized players Jordan Clarkson and Andray Blatche.
“Like yung Cleveland Cavaliers before, siyempre they made arrangement on the playing insurance ni Clarkson when he played for Gilas sa Asian Games. The same goes with Blatche siguro with his mother ballclub sa CBA (Chinese Basketball Association),” added the NLEX official.
Guam will have its next game on Feb. 23 against New Zealand at the same venue.
Cruz is expected to be back in Manila by Feb. 25.