Lyceum star CJ Perez surprised by pace of play, mental battle in D-League debut
CJ Perez says he expected the level of physicality in the D-League, but admits he needs to adjust to the speed of play. Dante Peralta

LYCEUM stars CJ Perez and JC Marcelino received a rude awakening in the PBA D-League as Zarks Burger–LPU bowed to Marinerong Pilipino in the Aspirants’ Cup opener on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.

The two however were still at their best as Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points while Perez chipped in 19 points and five assists in the gallant stand shown by the Jawbreakers.

The Jawbreakers trailed by 13 at the half following a sluggish offensive outing from the Lyceum-backed squad.

Perez attributed their slow start to adjustment, saying that they were a little bit surprised by the pace and the level of basketball in the D-League.

“I think siguro, dun nga yun. Naga-adjust pa. Actually pagbalik namin, ito palang yung pangalawang game namin, medyo nagkakalituhan,” said Perez.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sayo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas tough,” he added.

Marcelino seconded Perez claims, saying it took a little time for them to get used to the play in the D-League and even in the venue as they played there for the first time.

“Ayos lang naman pero siyempre sa una maninibago ka talaga dahil puro beterano mga nakalaban namin. Pero sabi nga ni coach, parang NCAA lang yan, normal lang yan, ayun bandang huli nakahabol,” said Marcelino.  

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na to first game din namin. Nung una, di kami naka-ano, kaya nagadjust kami nung huli. Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” he added.

Marcelino admitted that it’s gonna take a whole lot for them to even at least match the type of their performance in the NCAA, considering that they’re not playing against college players anymore.

He did promise that they’ll do everything  to live-up to expectations.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro. Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito. Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11