Sep 04, 2019

CJ Perez: Providing the spark for Gilas Pilipinas in Foshan

Columbian Dyip's rookie sensation CJ Perez has carried his stellar performance in the PBA over the Fiba Basketball World Cup, emerging as the most consistent performer in coach Yeng Guiao's team.

Embodying the Gilas puso with his energy and no-fear attitude playing against taller, stronger opponents from Italy and Serbia, Perez has averaged a team-high 15.5 points on a 56.5 percent field goal clip, to go with three assists and 1.5 steals through two games, to provide the spark in the Philippines' World Cup stint so far.

Guiao said Perez's emergence is no longer surprising considering he was a bundle of intensity and efficiency during their pre-WC training camp in Spain.

"I had some inkling from what I've seen in Spain and from what I've seen in practices. I wasn't really surprised. CJ is one of the few bright spots actually in this campaign," he said of Perez, who fearlessly attacked 7-foot defenders and even stole off Nikola Jokic's inbounds pass for an easy two one time.

Perez delivered 15 markers on a six-of-11 shooting plus two rebounds and three assists in Gilas' 62-108 blowout with too hot-shooting Italy on opening night.

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He was again on point in the second game, turning in a team-high 16 on a 57 percent marksmanship as the Filipinos took a 67-126 beating from heavy favorite Serbia.

"I'm just doing my best," the top pick in the last PBA rookie draft said.

Perez's fellow PBA freshman and WC debutant Robert Bolick of NorthPort has also been acquitting himself well in the global showpiece, averaging 6.5 arkers 1.5 board and 1 dime after two matches.

"For a rookie, Robert Bolick is also performing well. He showed a lot of tenacity, determination and maturity considering rookie siya sa PBA and he had to raise his level of play very quickly," said Guiao.

Gilas seeks to score a breakthrough Wednesday afternoon as it faces Angola, another winless squad, in the last day of Group D action.

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"Sana mapanalo namin yung game sa Angola para makabawi kami sa mga kababayan natin, especially yung mga dumayo pa ng China, at magbigay ng pride sa kanila," said Perez.(OL)