IT was one memorable day for Jericho Cruz.
Moments after his Blackwater Sports team notched its second straight win in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, the 23-year-old Cruz found another reason to celebrate upon learning he was tapped to play for the national cage team bound for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
“Sobrang excited. Panalo kami tapos narinig ko pa sa iyo ‘yun (na nasa SEA Games ako),” Cruz said when informed by Spin.ph of the good news that he made it to the SEA Games roster.
They Said It!
“Parang dream ko lang ‘yun dati. Pagdating ko lang dito, gusto ko maglaro rin sa Team Pilipinas whether amateur or kung ano man, basta may nakalagay lang dito na Pilipinas (points to shirt)." - Adamson's Jericho Cruz
Playing for the national team is actually nothing new for Cruz, the Philippine-born player having played for Northern Marianas in past Oceania tournaments.
But for the Adamson swingman, wearing the country’s color is a dream come true.
“Siyempre parang dream ko lang ‘yun dati. Pagdating ko lang dito, gusto ko maglaro rin sa Team Pilipinas whether amateur or kung ano man, basta may nakalagay lang dito na Pilipinas,” said Cruz, while pointing to the front of his shirt.
“Masaya ako na magiging part ako dun,” said Cruz.
The King Falcon will join naturalized player Marcus Douthit, Kevin Alas, Ronald Pascual, Jake Pascual, Garvo Lanete, Matt Ganuelas, Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Prince Caperal, and Rey Mark Belo in the December 8 to 16 competitions at the Naypidaw, Myanmar.
The country is seeking to extends its dominance in the event, having won the gold medal in all but one staging of the biennial meet (1989) since it began competing in the SEA Games in 1977.
Aware the team is loaded with collegiate stars, Cruz said he will do his best to perform the task to be given him by coach Jong Uichico and his staff.
“Siyempre, kapag nandoon na ako, ibibigay ko ‘yung best ko. Kahit hindi ako magamit, gagawin ko lahat,” he said.
Cruz said the SEA Games experience will be also very big for his collegiate career when he returns to the Falcons in next year’s UAAP season.
“Siyempre, malaki para sa basketball career ko ‘yung SEA Games. Pagbalik ko sa UAAP, madadala ko ‘yung kumpiyansa na ‘yun being part of the national team,” said Cruz.