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CNMI’S CRUZ GETS DRAFTED 9TH IN THE PBA

Jericho Cruz, who is half Chamorro and Filipino, was able to fulfill one of his biggest dreams which was to play professional basketball. Cruz got selected 9th overall in the 1st round Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

Press Release from Guambasketball.com– August 25, 2014

MANILA – Jericho Cruz who is half Chamorro and half Filipino is a former resident and graduate of Marianas High School of CNMI never gave up on his dream to become a professional basketball player. On Sunday his dream became a reality. Professional Basketball Association (PBA) Rain or Shine Elasto Painters selected Cruz with their first round 9th draft pick to sign with the professional basketball team. 

 In a one on one exclusive interview with GuamBasketball.com, Cruz described in detail the emotions and feelings he was going through once the draft selection got under way.

 “I was super nervous sitting with all 87 rookies who signed up to be drafted. My agent Ed Ponceja and I were on the phone all day talking to prospective teams to make a deal the night before but you never know what can happen on the day of the draft. I knew I did not have a chance being in the top five. When they announced the 6th and 7th picks I started shaking and by the 8th pick I was looking down saying ‘help me out help me out Lord’. And then the unbelievable happened. Rain or Shine called out my name as their 9th pick and I was like WHAT? It was so unexpected since they were not one of the teams my agent spoke to. My heart started pounding and never stopped until the next morning when I woke up and thought was it all a dream. That is when the reality of everything sunk in,” said Cruz.

CNMI's Jericho Cruz goes pro when Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rain or Shine selected him in the first round 9th draft pick on Sunday at Robinsons Mall Manila. No time to celebrate as Cruz reported to training camp the next day to meet his new team who are preparing for the upcoming PBA league that kicks off in October. (Photo courtesy of GuamBasketball.com)

CNMI’s Jericho Cruz goes pro when Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rain or Shine selected him in the first round 9th draft pick on Sunday at Robinsons Mall Manila. No time to celebrate as Cruz reported to training camp the next day to meet his new team who are preparing for the upcoming PBA league that kicks off in October. (Photo courtesy of GuamBasketball.com)

 Cruz, a standout player attending Adamson College, waived his right to play for the Soaring Falcons in his senior year entered his name back in June to pursue his dream.

 “Playing in the UAAP College League gave me the training and experience to prepare for competition. I worked so hard and stayed focus on my goal to be a professional. I got picked up to play with the PBA semi pro D league team Blackwater during UAAP’s off season to fulfill the requirement expected of players planning on entering the draft,” explained Cruz. He adds that it prepared him to transition to physical and rough style of play in the PBA.

 Cruz confirms he is still an islander at heart and cannot forget where it all began for him. “I started playing basketball on the islands and appreciate my coaches who helped me get to where I am today,” stated Cruz. He gives thanks to Joe Diaz with the Rollers Basketball Club, Jose Tumaquid with G-Stars Club, Elias Rangamar and Edzel Mendoza with Ol’Aces Club and CNMI Men’s National Coach Rufino Aguon for teaching and training him growing up.

 There are no breaks or time to celebrate as Cruz was required to report to training camp with Rain or Shine the next day at their practice facility located in Greenhills. “Now the real work begins for me with my new job and I am ready to take it on,” laughed Cruz.

 Cruz can now move forward with his new job and begin the journey of living his dream. “I encourage young athletes to keep dreaming, work hard and stay focused. Staying in school is important, keeping out of trouble and don’t do drugs because I did all of this to get where I am today,” said an emotional Cruz.

 For more info on the 2014 PBA draft visit www.pba.inquirer.net for complete results.

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