April 14, 2024

Japan fends off Jericho Cruz, Guam in FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers

Japan fends off Jericho Cruz, Guam in FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers
Jericho Cruz scored 12 points from five of 16 field goals for Guam. | Photo (c) FIBA

Akatsuki Japan successfully defended home turf as they fended off Guam at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo to open the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, 77-56.

Yuki Kawamura topscored for the home team with 15 points, along with five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Veteran baller Makoto Hiejima added 15 more, while Josh Harrellson pitched in 11.

Japan had the five point lead in the first quarter, but Guam delivered a 24-point outburst to take the single digit lead heading into the half.

It was in the third frame when Jericho Cruz, fresh off a PBA championship with the San Miguel Beermen, delivered a sizzle reel.

The Northern Marianas Islands-born baller scored 12 points from five of 16 field goals. He also made four rebounds, one assist, and two steals.

But the Japanese defense proved to be too much in the second half, as Guam was only forced to 20 points.

Cruz and the rest of team Guam will next head to Ulaanbaatar to take on Mongolia on Sunday, February 25, in Group C, at 3 p.m.

Japan will take on China at 1 p.m. in Tokyo.