NCAA: Perez, LPU excited to play in their first-ever Final Four
Danine Cruz on Oct 18, 2018 07:45 PM
"Mas maganda itong ganito kasi kailangan mong dumaan sa mga adversities." -- CJ Perez on the Final Four
Last year, Lyceum of the Philippines University went straight to the Finals in the NCAA after sweeping the elimination rounds.
This Season 94, after dropping three games against University of Perpetual Help, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and San Beda University, the Pirates will have to go through the tough Final Four format before they get the chance to avenge their heartbreaking bridesmaid run last season.
Second-seed Lyceum's situation may not look as pristine as last year's, but CJ Perez thinks going through the eye of the needle will be better for them.
"Sa aming lahat, excited kami maglaro sa Final Four. And yun nga, mas maganda itong ganito kasi kailangan mong dumaan sa mga adversities na kailangan mo lagpasan ang Letran muna," said Perez as they are set to face the third-seed Letran on October 26 for the semifinals.
This, even though in their game against San Beda on Thursday, the Pirates struggled with the Red Lions' zone defense. Perez who usually scores 19.1 points per game was limited to only nine points.
When asked about it, Perez bared that he was not feeling good about his game right from the get-go.
"Actually 'di yung sila yung naka-stop sa akin. Feeling ko sarili ko yung nai-stop ko kasi yun nga, pagpasok pa lang ng game, parang 'di ko ramdam na magaan yung katawan ko today. Feeling ko ang tight ko ngayon so parang pumasok sa utak ko tapos nawala ako sa focus," said Perez after playing his last eliminations game in his college career.
San Beda led by as much as 20 points late in the third quarter, but Lyceum was able to inch within five points with less than a minute to go in the game.
Ultimately, however, things didn't go their way as turnovers got the best of them. Still, Perez didn't point fingers at anyone.
"Sa mga ganitong talo hindi kami nagsisisihan, wala kaming excuses. Siguro yun yung na build na culture sa Lyceum. Kahit na nagtatalo, walang nagsisisihan, walang excuses, kaya mas maganda mag move forward kung yun yung na build na culture sa amin," he shared.
"Pero may bawi naman yan eh, 'di naman every game talaga Pasko eh. 'Di naman laging Pasko," he added.
His game today may have been uncharacteristic, but he assures that come the semifinals, the CJ Perez that fans all know of will be back.
"Andito naman yung tunay na CJ Perez. 'Di ko naman talaga mabubuhat yung team kung ako lang talaga. So kailangan lang mag work together. Siguro sabihin natin bad day siguro kaya ganun pero I'm okay naman," he said.