Apr 01, 2024

All-Star experience a confidence-booster on CJ's shooting skills

CJ Perez may not have won the PBA All-Star game MVP, but he did gain something invaluable shortly after the conclusion of the mid-season festivities.

The San Miguel wingman has developed his shooting range following a confidence-booster experience playing as part of Team Mark during the All-Star classic in Bacolod recently.

That was in full display during the Beermen's 116-102 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup when Perez shone with a season-high 32 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

Perez and San Miguel coach Jorge Gallent admitted the All-Star experience was truly an eye-opener for the Commissioner's Cup Best Player of the Conference as he was able to put to test how good his shooting skills are.

"Actually dumagdag nga yung kumpiyansa sa All-Star at malaking bagay siya," said Perez of his new-found weapon from beyond the arc. "But I'm just trying to be consistent kasi ayaw kong sayangin yung trust na binigay sa akin nila coach (Jorge).

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The two-time PBA champion dropped a game-high 39 points at the University of St. La Salle gym, including 28 in the second quarter when he almost single-handedly rallied Team Mark from a 32-point deficit.

The game eventually ended in a stalemate, 140-all.

Perez shot an astounding 7-of-11 from the four-point line, a feat that was only overshadowed by the nine-point explosion of teammate Robert Bolick in the waning seconds that forged the endgame deadlock.

Nonetheless, earning additional self-confidence on his shooting touch is something that can't be taken away from him.

"Now he realizes that he's a shooter after the All-Star game. I guess the four-point shots gave him the confidence to shoot 3s now," said Gallent.

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"He's a slasher, he's quick, and he's everything. And the only thing he needs is confidence on his three-point shots which he already saw. And I think he's going to be a hard guy to stop." (RG)