IT has taken only a short time for CJ Perez to attract attention outside the NCAA.
Perez has instantly become a favorite of fans at the Pasig Sports Center on Tuesday, attracting requests for selfies following Zach Burger's-Lyceum's 112-75 win over Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Even Perez’ teammates Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino had their share of photo requests from the Pasig crowd after the Jawbreakers broke into the win column in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
“Akala ko nga nasa LPU ako. Medyo nagulat din ako dahil hindi ko rin alam na marami (fans) dito,” said the athletically gifted Perez after emerging from the Jawbreakers' dugout.
The fans’ enthusiastic reception is understandable.
In his first game at the Pasig venue, the 6-2 guard had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals while helping the Jawbreakers bounce back from a loss to Marinerong Pilipino on opening day.
Perez, however, said he won’t let the adulation of fans get in his head.
“Sobrang happy kasi nano-notice nila kung paano ako maglaro. Pero hindi ako puwedeng tumigil doon at makuntento. Kailangan mag-push hard,” said Perez.
Following a disappointing showing against Marinerong Pilipino, Perez is happy that Zark’s-LPU is finally starting to adjust to the D-League style of play.
“Sobrang happy kasi nakapag-adjust na ‘yung ibang kasama ko sa laro. Maganda ‘yung naging opensa namin at ‘yung defense. Maganda ‘yung energy. Nakuha namin ang panalo,” said Perez.
Perez said he, too, has already made the adjustment, especially to the calls of the referees.
“Actually, natuto na ako sa last game kasi na-foul trouble ako ng maaga. Nag-adjust na ako ng konti. Hindi na ako masyadong naging pisikal,” said Perez.