NLEX Road Warriors wing man Jericho Cruz made his debut for the Guam national basketball team Sunday in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers 1st window at the Calvo Fieldhouse.
It was a rough debut for Cruz, as his squad faced a continental powerhouse in New Zealand, 113-94.
The 6-foot-2 Cruz started the game, played 28 minutes but finished with only 4 points on 2/8 shooting, missing 2 attempts from downtown.
He did have 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal, though he committed 4 turnovers and was a minus-13.
Playing in front of their home crowd, Guam had a dream start to the match, being able to go toe-to-toe against the giants for a 24-22 1st quarter lead.
But it did not take long for the Tall Blacks to regain rhythm, going on a dominant 2nd quarter to take a 56-43 halftime lead.
It was all New Zealand from that point as they swept the 1st window of the qualifiers with 2 wins, including a colossal upset of Australia, 108-98 3 days ago.
The Kiwi’s star, Shea Ili, took over with 25 points on 8/15 shooting. Jordan Ngatai and Reuben Te Rangi combined for 31 extra points.
The road does not get easier for Guam as they face Australia on February 27.