Sep 20, 2019

CJ Perez becomes a certified star after World Cup

As expected, Columbian Dyip ace CJ Perez carried over his confidence-building stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup into his club duties in the PBA Governors' Cup.

The rookie sensation out of Lyceum, who was Gilas' breakout star, dropped 28 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and had two steals in his first game back from international play, helping the Dyip score a 117-110 win over Alaska in the opener of the season-ending conference.

"I wish CJ wouldn't have played so well," was the first thing that Alaska coach Jeffrey Cariaso blurted when asked for to assess his first game at the helm.

Perez quickly deflected the credit, saying it was the result of all his teammates' efforts, especially import Khapri Alston, who banged in 38-22 to go with four assists.

"Kung maganda man nilaro ko, iyun ay sa effort ng buong team," said the top freshman.

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"Feeling ko talaga dahil yun sa effort ng teammates ko, mas maganda yung spacing at yung import namin, sa kanya naka-focus ang depensa dahil sya yung pumapatay sa loob. Malaking bagay yung import namin," he added.

Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel said he saw a smarter Perez post-World Cup.

"He's very smart and hindi siya nangi-gigil ngayon; sometimes (before) nangigigil sya, he wants to carry the team and yun nga sinsabi ko sa kanya, just be confident, kailangan maging mature siya, he's the leader of the team right now, kaya kailangan na kailangan ko sya," he said.

Perez saw action for 37 minutes and made 7 of his 18 attempts on the floor, including a 3-for-6 clip from beyond the arc. He had two turnovers.

"He just came from Fiba, so lots of confidence in him. When I talked to him, I told him don't shoulder (everything), I know you want to win but you have to involve your teammates din, he played better, " said Cardel. (OL)

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