FIBA: Replacing the Gilas GOAT: CJ Perez
Paul Lintag on Aug 02, 2019 07:38 AM
On the part where Perez plays like Castro, CJ for sure looks like a young Blur. If you squint, you probably can’t tell who’s the guard that’s breaking down defenses and scoring almost at will. CJ’s dreads probably give it away though.
With Jayson Castro pretty much retired from international basketball for a second time, the Philippine national team has lost a key pillar, one that has been a huge part in the success of the Gilas program as a whole.
The Blur has been playing for flag and country since Gilas 2.0, serving as a secret weapon the first time before anchoring the offense as the national team’s undisputed alpha dog in his later stints.
With Castro running point, the Philippines has been to the Finals of the Asian Championships twice.
He’s been hailed as the region’s best point guard two times and Castro has led Gilas Pilipinas to consecutive FIBA World Cup appearances. With his international production and accolades, it’s hard to make the case against the Blur being the Gilas’ GOAT.
And as he begs off from the 2019 World Championships to focus on his family, Gilas is essentially losing its best local player.
The Philippines’ no. 1 point guard spot is now wide open and with the 2019 FIBA World Cup approaching fast, Gilas needs a new alpha for the World Championships and beyond.
ABS-CBN Sports talked to three possible candidates to take over Castro’s no. 1 point guard spot with Gilas now and in the near future.
This is really happening, for real this time. This is goodbye to the Gilas GOAT. Who’s going to replace him now?
Even before entering the PBA, and in essense the Gilas program, CJ Perez has described his game as a mixture of both Calvin Abueva and Jayson Castro.
With that being said, the PBA’s no. 1 rookie from the 2018 Draft is surely suited to take over the Blur’s spot in Gilas right?
There’s certainly a chance a Perez is in the Philippines’ official 19-man pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
“Isang opportunity samin na maka-tulong sa [national] team and sa country. Di kami sure sa slot pero kung ano lang gusto ni coach Yeng, yun susundin namin,” Perez said of bening in the Gilas pool.
“Gusto ko lang naman, gusto namin mga bago, is makatulong sa team. Di naman namin ine-aim yung makasali sa World Cup pero kung nandoon yung opportunity, grab namin syempre,” he added.
On the part where Perez plays like Castro, CJ for sure looks like a young Blur.
If you squint, you probably can’t tell who’s the guard that’s breaking down defenses and scoring almost at will. CJ’s dreads probably give it away though.
In the first release of the Best Player of the Conference race for the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, both Perez and Castro were tied for second with identical averages of 35.1 stastical points.
CJ led all locals in scoring with 22.7 points per game and Castro led all locals in assists with 6.4 dimes per outing. For Gilas purposes, that might be the thing that sets the two apart for now.
The Clone is on the right track though.
“Wala naman pressure [to replace Castro] pero yun nga, pinaghahandaan ko talaga. Actually, marami pa akong dapat matutunan, kaya everyday natutuo lang ako,” Perez said.
“Siya yung best player eh, lahat naco-contribute niya from scoring, assists, paano i-control yung team,” he added.
MOVING ON FROM THE BLUR
Starting the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Jayson Castro is no more for Gilas Pilipinas.
The Philippine national team has tapped mutliple players as possibile replacement, CJ Perez is one of them.
Moving on is part basketball as teams turn over players all the time. But for Gilas specifically, will the program be truly the same without its GOAT?
“Syempre yung excitement nung laro, yung pace [iba na]. Syempre Jayson Castro yun eh, ibang-iba mangyayari sa team,” Perez said.
“Pero yun nga kailangan mag-move on. Jayson Castro yung mawawala, malaking bagay yun,” he added.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8