AS impressive as his Lyceum debut was in his NCAA comeback, CJ Perez was more concerned about the mistakes he made in the match despite the Pirates winning their Season 93 opener in style.
Perez had a double-double in his first game in the NCAA after three years when he finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists, and two steals in the Pirates' runaway 96-75 win over Jose Rizal University on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The 23-year-old Perez also shot 9-of-16 from the field but admitted that first-game jitters got into him, which led to seven turnovers in the match.
"'Yung pagpasok ko, parang sobrang excited ako maglaro," Perez told reporters after the game. "Nadala 'yung gigil. Turnovers, medyo mataas."
When told it was the CJ Perez of old that played on Tuesday, he readily agreed.
"Same turnover pa rin," said Perez, with a smile.
Turning serious again, Perez said it was a thrill to play again in the NCAA after three seasons in which he underwent residency when he transferred to Ateneo only for his Blue Eagles career to be cut short due to academic reasons.
"Honored na maglaro ako sa LPU. 'Yung pagbabalik ko, welcome back. Sobrang saya maglaro talaga sa NCAA. Excited ako maglaro," said Perez.
Perez also played down his lead role in the LPU victory as it was a collective effort on the part of the Pirates. Mike Nzeusseu had 13 points in the contest, while Mer Ayaay also added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"Same CJ Perez pero 'yung team talaga ang secret doon kaya nanalo ang team namin," said Perez.
His teammates said Perez is a big plus to the team as his positive energy rubs off to the entire Pirates squad from the starters to the bench.
"Masarap kasama," said Ayaay. "Hindi basta sumusuko. Laging pinupush niya ako. Nagtutulungan kami, lahat kami."