PBA: Perez a 'changed man' after FIBA World Cup stint
Mark Escarlote on Sep 20, 2019 09:16 PM
The experience and maturity earned by Columbian rookie CJ Perez in his stint in the FIBA World Cup was obvious in his 2019 PBA Governor's Cup debut. (Arvin Lim)
Columbian head coach Johnedel Cardel felt that CJ Perez’s stint in the FIBA World Cup did wonders for the rookie.
“He's very smart and 'di siya nanggigigil ngayon,” said Cardel of the 2018 top overall draft pick.
Perez finished with 28 points and 13 boards on Friday to help Dyip hurdle Alaska, 117-110, in the 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup at the MOA Arena.
Cardel specifically lauded Perez’s maturity and improved discipline, which he felt he developed as one of the young bloods who heeded the call in world basketball’s biggest stage in China almost two weeks ago.
“Sometimes nanggigigil siya kasi he wants to carry the team. 'Yun ang sinasabi ko sa kanya, be confident,” said Cardel. “He can make errors. Kailangan maging ano siya kasi he's the leader of the team right now kaya kailangang-kailangan ko siya.”
Perez shot 7-of-18 from the field including three treys and was 11-of-15 from the line with only two turnovers in 47 minutes of play.
But the Lyceum of the Philippines University product was quick to deflect all the credit in Columbian’s win. He stressed that everyone contributed and the defense opened up as import Khapri Alston went on a 38-point tear.
“Feeling ko yung sa effort lang din noong mga teammates ko kasi yung spacing mas gumanda and yung import namin, talagang naka-focus sila doon,” he said.
“Minsan ako yung duma-drive pero naka-focus sila sa import,” added Perez. “Malaking bagay din yung import namin talaga na ganoon yung nilaro niya ngayon.”
Perez may have developed his maturity in his FIBA stint playing against the best of teh best in ther world but it didn't make basketball any easier for him.
"Hindi naman madali," he stressed. "Uulitin ko, nag-focus sila doon sa import kasi siya na yung pumapatay sa loob kaya ganoon. Tignan natin sa next game kung ano pang mangyayari."
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