Former CNMI Men's National Team member Jericho Cruz continues to have an impressive debut season in a collegiate league in the Philippines.
Cruz, who is suiting up for the Adamson Falcons in the prestigious University Athletics Association of the Philippines, exploded for 33 points in their game against the University of Sto. Tomas last Saturday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Unfortunately, Cruz and company lost the closely fought game, 79-83.
The Falcons shooting guard's 33 markers is his highest so far this season and he is one of only two players on the team averaging in double figures after 11 games with his 12.27 points per game norm. Power forward Eric Camson was the other twin-digit scorer for the Falcons with his 14.73 points average.
According to pba-online.net, Cruz posted double figures in six of their 11 games and in the last four games. He averaged 17.5 points in the last four games after earning 12 markers in their 77-80 loss to National University, carding 16 in their 68-78 defeat to Far Eastern University, and firing 17 in their 75-70 victory over University of the Philippines.
Then against the UST Growling Tigers, Cruz had a 10-for-18 field goal shooting percentage and was almost perfect from the foul line, hitting 8-for-9 to have a breakout game in the 75th season of the league. He also connected on five triples out of seven attempts, collared 9 rebounds, had 4 assists, and made only two turnovers in an almost no-relief job for the Falcons.
The former CNMI cager played for 35 minutes against UST and is a regular starter for the Falcons, having close to 28 minutes playing time (27.64) in his debut season. In 11 games, Cruz has averaged 3.9 rebounds and has a 35 percent clip from the 3-point line, 72 percent from the foul line, and is shooting 44 percent from the field.
Asked to comment on his performance in the league, Cruz jokingly replied he is speechless about his debut season. However, Cruz's former teammate with the CNMI Nationals, James Lee, and other Saipan players had a lot of congratulatory remarks for the 6'0 player.
“I am glad he is doing well in a collegiate league. Besides his impressive scoring, Jericho has also showed significant improvement on defense. He is still young and if he stays injury free, I am sure he will continue to have great games in the league,” Lee said in a telephone interview with Saipan Tribune.
Cruz's former teammates and friends on Saipan extended their congratulations to the Adamson standout through his Facebook account. His teammates and friends noted his superb rookie season and someone even posted “Cruzanity” on Cruz's message board.