CJ PEREZ has been inviting PBA talk as of late with his splendid play with Lyceum in Season 93 of the NCAA.
Friday was no different as he made the game look easy against Letran when he finished with 24 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in an 81-69 win over the Knights.
LPU coach Topex Robinson is aware of the PBA buzz surrounding Perez, but he's more than happy that his prized player will not be available for the PBA draft this year.
Concurrently holding a position as assistant coach of Alaska, Robinson admitted that Perez is a high value prospect if he becomes eligible, one who will no longer be available should it be the Aces’ turn to pick at number five in this year’s draft.
“I don’t think we will have a chance with him with the way he is playing,” said Robinson, when asked if Alaska will pick Perez at No. 5 if he is still in the pool.
Fortunately for Robinson, Perez is not yet eligible to apply for the PBA draft this year as he is still classified as a Fil-foreigner by the professional league being born in Hong Kong, meaning he still needs to play at least two conferences in the PBA D-League.
Perez has not yet played in the D-League.
“Good thing that he was born in Hong Kong. Ibig sabihin, he needs to play one more year. I don’t have to worry about that,” said Robinson.
Robinson admitted he has been mentioning the 23-year-old Perez to his fellow coaches with Alaska with his unselfish ways.
“The one thing I like about him and I try to brag about sa Alaska is he will never bring the team down kung kasama mo siya. Hindi siya ‘yung kapag hindi mo siya pasahan, magagalit siya. He knows that he needs the support of everyone,” said Robinson.
Prior to the Letran game, the 6-foot-2 Perez is second in scoring with 18.6 points per game behind Kent Salado of Arellano (18.9). He is also averaging 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
Despite his skills, athletic ability, and performance on the offensive end this season, Perez believes he still has work to improve on in his game particularly in his passing.
“Marami pa akong kailangan matutunan. Marami pa akong dapat iimprove. Hindi ko naman nararamdaman ‘yun (na angat laro ko),” said Perez.
Upon saying that in the postgame interview, Robinson was jokingly blurting out the word “pasa” in between coughs. Turning serious, Robinson said Perez is making an effort to pass the ball more.
“CJ is really a prized (player) sa amin. You can’t expect him to turn into a different beast kumbaga. I’m just joking about that passing but he is really taking the effort. He is conscious kapag nagkamali siya and he knows na nagkamali siya,” said Robinson.