CJ PEREZ finally lived up to expectations after two tough outings with FEU-NRMF, leading the Tamaraws to a 99-96 victory over Hobe Bihon on Tuesday in the 1st Marikina City Basketball League.
Held to just two points in the Tamaraws’ loss against the NLEX SCTEX Road Warriors on Sunday, Perez redeemed himself in the game against Hobe, scoring six crucial points in the payoff period to spearhead FEU-NRMF’s rally.
“I just did my best. Nahiya rin ako kasi sa first two games ko sa team, nangapa pa ako sa sistema nila,” said the Lyceum Pirates star.
FEU-NRMF, which swept its eight elimination-round games, has a chance to arrange a finals showdown with NLEX when it takes on R Lapid.
NLEX claimed a finals spot after its wins over FEU, 91-86, and R. Lapid, 90-76, in the single round robin semifinals.
Hobe had control early, with former PBA players Ronjay Buneafe, Chito Jaime and Bonbon Custodio leading the charge.
But it was Perez that spelled the difference, displaying his superb one-one-one skills to make the big baskets in the dying moments. He finished with 11 points.
“CJ was CJ. I admire his tenacity. Before the game he vowed to make up and so he did,” said FEU-NRMF coach BJ Manalo.
“The kid has the potential of making it big in Philippine basketball. He has what it takes. He is a very coachable player and a disciplined one,” added the former La Salle star guard.
The Road Warriors can clinch a twice-to-beat advantage when it takes on Hobe in its last elims match.
The MCBL is a city-based league featuring different teams from Metro Manila featuring former PBA players and up and coming cagers.
FEU-NRMF 99 – Nzeusseu 21, Perez 11, Ferguson 10, Bautista 9, Laude 9, Brokenbrough 8, Inigo 8, Mendoza 8, Lingganay 7, Tabi 5, Clerine 3, Raymundo 0, Habelito 0
Hobe 96 – Tankoua 28, Bowie 12, Buenafe 12, Zanjo 12, Sanders 10, Jaime 7, Casino 5, Custodio 4, Dela Cuesta 4, Santiago 2
NLEX 90 – Apinan 21, Batino 12, Adeogun 10, Apreku 10, Vitug 9, Belencion 8, Villarias 8, Abatayo 5, Fajardo 4, Pangilinan 3, Calomot 0, Ellamil 0
R. Lapid 76 – Bulanadi 20, Costello 15, Chabi Yo 10, Jakhite 8, Castro 7, Camacho 5, Callano 4, Batouzulele 3, Baetiong 2, Napoles 2, Espinosa 0, Sta. Maria 0