FOR CJ Perez, the draft order where he and Bobby Ray Parks were picked in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft means little as the Columbian neophyte knows all too well how good his Blackwater counterpart is.
"Actually yung one and two, numbers lang yun eh. Si Ray Parks, ang dami na na-experience niyan. Nag-ABL siya at nag-MVP siya doon so syempre mataas yung respect ko sa kanya."
The top two selections of last year's draft faced off for the first time on Sunday, with Parks' Blackwater getting the better draw thanks to a 118-110 victory over Columbian in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Perez tried his best to match up, firing 17 points on a troubling 7-of-18 clip from the field, to go with his seven rebounds and an assist.
That, however, pales in comparison to Parks' 23-point outing, alongside five boards, five assists, two steals, and one block.
"It's a competition at kailangan ko makipag-compete talaga," said the top overall pick Perez, who didn't deny that he felt challenged playing against such a great foe in Parks. "Nandoon lagi yun, yung challenge and the competition. It's a great experience na makalaban si Ray Parks."
"Syempre, sa team pa rin talaga eh. Lahat nag-effort sa kanila at nagkulang kami," he rued as Columbian drops to a 0-3 record.
"Kailangan naming maglaro ng 48 minutes na extra effort, extra energy. Yung composure dapat nandoon talaga kasi kung lalaro lang kami ng third quarter or kalahati lang ng fourth quarter, di talaga kami mananalo."
Defeated as the Dyip may be for the third straight time, Perez isn't losing hope knowing that soon enough, that elusive win no. 1 will soon be in the bag.
"Kailangan namin mag-bounce back at extra effort pa sa practice, ibigay ang best sa practice and sa games," he said. "Marami pang games so makakabawi pa kami, for sure."