THE PBA will not be stopping Jericho Cruz from playing for the Guam national team as long as he is cleared by his mother ballclub NLEX.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the league sees nothing wrong with Cruz’s stint with Guam where he was included in the 24-man pool of the nation in the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers, as long as he gets the clearance from the Road Warriors. Cruz holds a dual passport that made him eligible to play for Guam, a United States territory.
“Basta okay sa mga teams, medyo may leeway na tayo,” said Marcial, citing Beau Belga who was allowed by Rain or Shine to play for Mighty Sports in the Dubai International Basketball Championship.
Marcial also cited other instances where other mother ballclubs allowed their players to engage in activities outside the PBA such as June Mar Fajardo playing in a charity event in Cebu.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao said the team will be allowing Cruz to play for Guam, but admitted it will also seek advice from the PBA in regards to the matter. Guiao also hopes that the Guam basketball federation will have Cruz insured for his own safety.
Guiao also added Cruz’s exposure in international play will also be beneficial to his career. Guam will face Hong Kong and Oceania powerhouse New Zealand in the first window of the qualifiers next month.
While he doesn’t see any problem with the possible stint of Cruz for Guam, Marcial hopes that Cruz won’t be affected by any technicality in relation to playing for another national team. Cruz had already suited up for Gilas Pilipinas but in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
Marcial also added Cruz or NLEX have not reached out to the PBA about the particular matter.
“Baka ma-technical naman siya. Pero sa akin, kung okay sa team, okay sa NLEX, bakit hindi?” Marcial said.