PBA: CJ Perez, Jorge Gallent bring out best in each other

PBA: CJ Perez, Jorge Gallent bring out best in each other to notch greatness

/ 04:21 PM February 15, 2024

San Miguel Beermen PBA CJ Perez Jorge Gallent

San Miguel Beermen’s CJ Perez and coach Jorge Gallent celebrate their team’s latest PBA championship. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—It started with a spat, then some minutes of silence until finally, the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship was won.

At the 4:56 mark in the second quarter of the PBA Finals Game 6, San Miguel’s CJ Perez was left wide open for a three-point shot in the right wing.

Instead of taking the clear shot, the Conference’s best player passed the ball in the paint, which resulted in a turnover that Magnolia took advantage of in the fast break.

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Immediately after the ball went in the Hotshots’ basket, coach Jorge Gallent called upon Jericho Cruz to replace Perez, who was visibly upset after being benched.

“Shoot it!” shouted Gallent while the Beerman was on his way back to the bench. Perez barked back.

“We just yelled at each other for five to six seconds, and that was it… it was done and over with. [CJ] is hardheaded, I always tell him to take a shot and he doesn’t want to take it,” said Gallent. “He’s a good shooter!”

The 30-year-old guard then threw a fit, screaming, and pounding the LED board on the sideline before aggressively throwing his towel on the bench.

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Then Perez finally composed himself.

Like father and son

San Miguel PBA CJ Perez

San Miguel’s Finals MVP CJ Perez in Game 6 of the PBA Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Seeing that the Beermen were down, 42-35, in a game where they could close out the series, Perez seemed almost sympathetic after looking at the scoreboard.

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Like a tamed lion, he walked gingerly his way to Gallent and talked again; more silently, this time.

“Of course, we argued but we weren’t arguing for our sakes. He just told me what I needed to do. That’s how things go when you almost have a father-son relationship. You fight but you still follow,” explained Perez.

READ: CJ Perez wins first PBA Best Player award by being steadiest Beerman

Perez was never inserted back into the game again until the second half, where he redeemed himself big time and played a key role in the Beermen’s title-clinching run.

The Gilas Pilipinas member took Gallent’s “shoot it!” remark to heart. And he did it gracefully.

With 4:40 left in what could be San Miguel’s closeout game, the Beermen found themselves trailing 95-88.

Perez then took matters into his own hands and made two straight contested layups to shave the Hotshots’ lead to three, 95-92, with 2:52 to go.

Chris Ross then gave San Miguel that much-needed push to steer the Beermen back in the driver’s seat, 100-99, with 1:27 left.

In the dying minutes of the game, a time when legends are made, Perez heard Gallent one more time—and undoubtedly, the most important time in this conference.

“Shoot it!”

Perez etched his name in Beermen history with a step-back triple in the 48-second mark that would ultimately spell the end for the Hotshots, who failed in another bid to snag the title.

“[CJ Perez] just showed his worth in this conference and that he can excel more. As a good player, he became an even better player and this is where he is now. He won the PBC and the Finals MVP. He’s getting more matured. I love it. All of his success, I love,” said Gallent.

Perez was crowned as the Finals MVP after pouring in 28 points, two assists and two steals in the go-home game for San Miguel.

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When asked what Perez thought about their second-quarter collision, the two-time PBA champion nodded his head and showed heart.

“I always cherish those kinds of moments with coach Jorge, he said it himself, I’m hardheaded. Sometimes I don’t pass but now I pass a lot. I’m always grateful and I love him as a coach,” Perez said.

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

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