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    CJ Perez proud to serve as catalyst for change for reborn Columbian

    Mar 6, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    CJ PEREZ'S revenge tour continues.

    Javee Mocon was the latest name to get crossed out in the former NCAA MVP's hit list after Columbian scored an 85-82 victory over Rain or Shine on Thursday in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.

    Perez dropped a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, on top of playing stellar defense to help the Dyip secure the victory against ROS and rookie Mocon, a member of the San Beda team that beat Lyceum in the past two NCAA Finals.

    The former Pirates start earlier got a measure of retribution over another former Red Lion star in Robert Bolick when the Dyip bested NorthPort, 110-100 back in Jan. 26. He scored 12 in that game.

    Asked about the twin wins, the No. 1 pick in the last PBA Rookie Draft let out a laugh and quipped, "At least, nakabawi-bawi naman ng konti."

    Turning serious, though, Perez said revenge against his collegiate rivals is the least of his priorities, saying all he wanted was to be a catalyst of change for the lowly Columbian.

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    "Hindi ko naman naiisip yun," he said. "I'm so happy na ganoon ang tinatakbo ng sistema ng Columbian ngayon, kasi sa mga nakaraang season nila ang sama ng nangyari. Pero ngayon, medyo maganda-ganda na ang nangyayari sa Columbian."

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      If there's an advantage he had facing Mocon anew, Perez said it's his familiarity with the brawny forward gained in numerous wars through the years in the NCAA.

      "Syempre kabisado ko na kung paano siya maglaro eh, so inaabangan ko na lang siya lagi pag siya ang binabantayan ko. Magandang adjustment lang. Nakatoka sa akin si kuya James Yap, pero doon sa last play, kay Mocon ako natapat. Nagkataon na nakagawa ako ng magandang stop at yun lang ang maitutulong ko talaga eh," he said.

      Perez said he is focused on his goal of proving that he belongs in this league - and of leading the Dyip to only their second postseason appearance in 13 conferences.

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      "Syempre kailangan kong ipakita na hindi lang tayo pang-NCAA. Mas ipapakita ko yung effort. Tingin ko naman yung winning mentality ang nadadala ko na sa Columbian and I'm so happy na ganoon ang nangyayari," he said.

      "Isang magandang karangalan yun para sa Columbian at sa management kung makaabot nga kami sa playoffs. Nag-sacrifice sila ng marami para sa mga players, kaya pag nakarating kami doon, blessing at honor yun sa first conference ko."

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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