MILAN – CJ Perez wasted no time proving he can compete with the big boys.
The Columbian Dyip rookie emerged as the scoring champion of the just-concluded PBA season by posting an average of 20.8 points per game.
He is the first freshman to pull off the feat in 20 years, or not since Eric Menk of Tanduay emerged scoring champion in 1999.
The leading Rookie of the Year candidate and No. 1 pick in 2018 beat out some of the league’s top gunners in winning the scoring title.
The impressive season by the 6-foot-1 guard out of Lyceum also saw Perez emerging as one of the leading candidates for the season’s MVP plum, second behind runaway leader June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer in the statistical race.
Crowding out Perez for the scoring title were Matthew Wright of Phoenix (18.89 ppg) and Fajardo (18.87), the five-time MVP, who also emerged as the season’s top rebounder with an average of 13.0 per outing.
Meanwhile, Jayson Castro topped the league in assists with 6.1 per outing. The TnT Katropa playmaker and two-time Best point guard in Asia, finished no. 9 in scoring with a 15. 2 average.
Perez, Fajardo, and Castro along with NorthPort big man Christian Standhardinger are the top frontrunners for the MVP award.
Sean Anthony of NorthPort meanwhile was the No. 1 in steals (2.4), and JP Erram was the league top blocker for the second straight season (2.1).
Philip Paniamogan of NLEX meanwhile distinguished himself as the deadliest from three-point range by shooting 40.8 percent from beyond the arc, Meralco’s Baser Amer was the top shooter from the foul line with 87.5 percent shooting, while Stanley Pringle, Perez, and rookie Bobby Ray Parks had the most number of minutes played with an average of 37 per game.
A far second behind Fajardo in rebounding was Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (8.5), followed by Raymond Almazan of Meralco (8.0), Erram (7.8), and Anthony (7.6).
In assists, San Miguel veteran Chris Ross (5.4) finished second behind Castro, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson (5.0) was third followed by Chris Banchero of Magnolia (4.89) and NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick (4.88).