CJ Perez refused to make fatigue an excuse, lauding the Centro Escolar University defense instead for turning him into a non-factor late after a hot start in the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum’s 85-91 loss to the Scorpions in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on Tuesday.
Perez dropped nine points in the opening salvo, then he was limited to just eight in the last 30 minutes of the nip-and-tuck match that was decided only in the final minute.
The 6-foot-2 energizer bunny admitted the Scorpions made life difficult for him especially in the fourth period, where he made a game-tying triple with 3:03 remaining before coming up empty on the field and at the stripe in the final minutes of the loss that snapped the Jawbreakers win run at four.
"Siguro pinaghandaan nila talaga ako. Pinaghandaan talaga nila siguro na ako yung titira. Kailangan ko talaga pagtrabahuhan yun," said the Lyceum star, who was 7-of-20 from the field.
Though they were coming off a busy stretch that saw the core of Lyceum play in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League, Perez said fatigue was the last thing on his mind.
"Siguro andun na yun. Pero wala naman sa isip namin yun, na natalo kami dahil pagod kami," said Perez, whose team exacted revenge on NCAA rival San Beda for the PCCL title.
"Di kami mageexcuse. Kailangan lang namin matutunan kung paano tapusin yung laro."
Despite losing Mike Nzeusseu early due to a sprained ankle, Perez remained pleased as the Jawbreakers were able to keep the game close only to fall short to the Scorpions in the final stretch.
"Siguro mas better lang talaga sila sa amin. Dikit naman yung laro, nung endgame lang nagkatalo. We learn from it na lang. great experience yun para samin," said Perez.