NCAA: CJ Perez says ‘talented’ Lyceum capable of reaching finals
MANILA, Philippines—Former Lyceum ace CJ Perez believes the Gilbert Malabanan-mentored Pirates can go as far as the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball Finals.
The San Miguel Beer star was in attendance when Lyceum clashed with defending champion Letran and he lauded the much-improved Pirates, who are riding a five-game winning streak.
“I believe that they can make it to the top, as long as they become consistent. They can reach the finals as long as they’re consistent, they have a huge chance,” Perez said.
“My old Lyceum team is different from this one. I think they’re a bit more talented than us,” he added.
Perez, the NCAA Season 93 MVP, also commended the young Enoch Valdez, who he sees as his younger brother.
“I see him as my younger brother. I’m so proud of him because I see his hustle since the offseason. That’s where I’m impressed with him,” he said.
Valdez finished with only five points but had 12 rebounds and six steals in the team’s stunning 82-75 win over the Knights.
Malabanan was flattered by Perez’s prediction but said the team is still a long way from the finals stage.
“Honestly, I don’t make them look for the finals. I make them think about reaching the Final Four first. We’ll take it one at a time, step by step,” he said.
“I don’t want us taking shortcuts. We’ll work hard for our road to the top,” the head tactician added.
The Pirates are currently in a tie for first place with College of St. Benilde with similar 5-1 slates.
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