Guiao OK with Cruz missing NLEX practices
Jericho Cruz was named to the Guam national team pool over the weekend, priming the NLEX guard for another tour of duty in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers (ACQ).
That means Cruz won’t be with the Road Warriors as they continue preparing for the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 46th season.
But Yeng Guiao, who serves as NLEX’s head coach and general manager, doesn’t mind it at all.
“He’ll have extra training in the US and he’ll play with quality players—big and stronger guys,” Guiao told the Inquirer.
“That’s exactly why we did not hesitate in allowing him to play for the Guam team.”
Cruz, a dual citizen who also donned the Gilas red-white-and-blue in the past, had four points, four boards, five assists and a steal for Guam in a loss to New Zealand during the ACQ’s first window in February of last year.
Guam is scheduled to play Hong Kong twice in Group C, which will resume this Sunday in Amman, Jordan.
“He’ll miss some practices with us. That’s a setback,” Guiao said of his ward, who will have to undergo isolation once he returns to the Philippines.
“We won’t be able to practice with him as much as we want to … but the advantages should outweigh the disadvantages,” he went on.
NLEX has been neck-deep in training like the other 11 PBA ball clubs. The Road Warriors even pitched camp in Guiao’s home province of Pampanga for six days, hoping to apply subtle tweaks into its system.
“When (Jericho) comes back, his body will be much more equipped for the coming season,” Guiao said. “He’ll be able to help us with his experience and his readiness.” INQ