Big fish hooked
CJ Perez said he wanted to find out what he and Columbian are made of.
The top pick of the PBA draft got his answer on Friday when the Dyip carved out a gritty win over the dynastic San Miguel Beermen, 124-118, in the PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
“As soon as I entered the dugout, and then stepped on the court, I got so excited,” Perez said in Filipino. “But as soon as the second half began, I just went with the flow.”
“Ganito pala sa PBA,” he added.
That excitement—and eventual settling down—led to 26 points from Perez and an upset that dealt the defending champions Beermen an early setback.
“This is a big fish. This is San Miguel Beer. I felt that if we get this win, it will be a big boost to the boys’ confidence,” said Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel said in Filipino.
“CJ [Perez] stepped up in the second half. He was tentative in the first half. I was pushing him; I told him to carry the team. ”
That was exactly what the former NCAA star out of Lyceum did, scoring all but two points of his total in the second half. But he wasn’t alone.
“Actually, I don’t think it’s all because of me. [Early] in the second half, we were all communicating well. We were great on defense. There were lapses, but we were able to recover,” he said.
Jackson Corpuz and Reden Celda provided for Perez while Rashawn McCarthy sank a tough triple to put Columbian up, 117-113, going into the stretch.
Arwind Santos, San Miguel’s fourth oldest player at 37, spearheaded the Beermen offense with a game-high 34 points.
Terrence Romeo, whose debut with the Beermen was one of the more anticipated storylines, finished with just seven points. He was the subject of a clarification statement released by San Miguel on a comment by Alaska coach Alex Compton (“kawawa ang liga”) on the Beermen’s acquisition of the spitfire guard.
“It is unfortunate that Alaska team head coach Alex Compton had to make a statement against the Beermen and the league when he actually traded away competent players like RJ Jazul and Calvin Abueva.
“It is also widely known that Terrence Romeo was offered to all the PBA teams before he was traded to San Miguel Beermen. Despite Mr. Compton’s unnecessary remarks, we are still excited about what the future holds for PBA, our teams and the fans,” the statement read.
Later in the evening, James Yap fired 20 points and Rain or Shine turned back NLEX, 96-87. Rookie Javee Mocon, who added 13 for the Painters, added to the list of freshmen with sterling debuts in the league.
His teammate at San Beda, Robert Bolick, had 26 points in his NorthPort debut recently.
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