MAROANAS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT - JULY 2-15.
JERICHO CRUZ CONTINUES TO SOAR FOR FALCONS
Former CNMI National Team member Jericho Cruz continued his stellar performance with the Adamson Falcons.
The 6'0 shooting guard, who was among Adamson's top scorers in the 2012 season of the prestigious University Athletics Association of the Philippines, is now playing in the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League and helped his Falcons moved one win away from making in to the Final Four of the more than 200-team caging.
Cruz's latest exploit in the nationwide PCCL was a 37-point output against NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College. According to a Philippine newspaper report, the former CNMI cager drilled four treys, collared seven rebounds, and had four assists to lift his Falcons to an 88-79 upset over the Stags last Sunday at the San Juan Arena.
The victory was Cruz and company's sixth in as many matches in the Metro Manila leg qualifier. In those six games, Cruz averaged close to 20 points per match and was cited by his coach, Leo Austria, as the most consistent player on the team, stepping up for the injured Eric Camson.
Cruz and his Falcons were gunning for the Final Four berth against UAAP finalist University of Sto. Tomas last night and results of the game were unavailable at press time. Incidentally, Cruz recorded his most points (33) in his UAAP debut season against the UST Tigers in September.
A win over UST would put the Falcons in the company of UAAP champion Ateneo, NCAA champion San Beda, and Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. winner Southwestern University.
The PCCL is Cruz's second competition for the Falcons after completing his debut season in the UAAP. The former Marianas High School student, who represented the CNMI in the 2010 Micronesian Games and 2009 Oceania Basketball Tournament, also played in the 2012 University Games in Bacolod and powered the Falcons to a semis stint in the annual competition before losing to the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Before the PCCL and Uni Games' basketball tournaments, the Falcons rookie stayed on Saipan for more than a week last month and helped conduct training sessions for the CNMI Junior Nationals' pool. While teaching the young Commonwealth cagers new tricks, Cruz also vowed to help them find collegiate teams in the Philippines if they decide to continue playing the sport.