PBA: CJ Perez expected a ‘physical’ Ginebra in semis opener

PBA: CJ Perez says he expected ‘physical’ Ginebra in semis opener

/ 06:03 PM January 25, 2024

San Miguel Beermen PBA semis Game 1 Ginebra

San Miguel Beermen’s CJ Perez in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—San Miguel’s CJ Perez shrugged off Ginebra’s physicality to help the Beermen gain an early upper hand in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.

Perez’s toughness and grit in the paint resulted in a conference-high 26-point performance with five rebounds and three assists to give San Miguel the 1-0 lead over the Gin Kings.

The bumps and bruises, though, are not points of concerns for Perez as he already expected Ginebra to be brutal defensively from the get-go.

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“I already know that’s how they play. They’re really physical. They especially made it hard for Bennie (Boatwright) because he couldn’t get his shots up. That’s my instinct, going to the basket. That’s one of the keys for me to help the team,” said the shifty guard in Filipino after their 92-90 win  on Wednesday.

“Ginebra is really focused on defense and with us, we’re just giving our hundred percent effort every game.”

In 43 minutes of action, Boatwright recorded 23 points and 12 rebounds. He is averaging 40.5 points per outing since his assignment in San Miguel.

So coach Jorge Gallent was pleasantly surprised when Perez took the challenge of attacking the paint despite the rim being protected by bigs Christian Standhardinger and Tony Bishop.

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“CJ is CJ. He does wonderful things for the San Miguel team. My hat’s off to him. When we needed a rebound, steal, point, he was there. I’m very happy that he played very well, especially in the dying minutes,” said Gallent.

They may have won the battle, but Perez knows the job is far from over. He believes the Beermen still need add more emphasis on the defensive end to send Ginebra packing.

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“We need to execute our offense more and put more effort into our defense so we can end games. We all know Ginebra and their ‘never say die’ [spirit.] They won’t end until the last buzzer.”

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TAGS: CJ Perez, PBA Commissioner's Cup, San Miguel Beermen

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