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    Nothing but love as former Pirates Perez, Ayaay cross paths in PBA

    Feb 6, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    MJ Ayaay warned CJ Perez two days before Alaska took on Columbian that he better prepare himself for the faceoff.

    "Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Yari ka sa akin. Parang practice lang,'" Ayaay playfully said.

    Knowing his brethren all too well, Perez just laughed off the threat. "Alam naman natin si Ayaay, puro biro yun eh," said the top overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

    Fun as the reunion was for the two former Lyceum stalwarts, Perez and Ayaay were all business on the court once the competitive fire kicked in.

    "Di ko na inisip (si CJ). Gusto ko lang manalo and matulungan yung Alaska," said Ayaay, the No. 9 pick in the past 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

    When the dust settled, it was Ayaay who got the upper hand over Perez as his eight points, four rebounds, and two assists helped the Aces take the 94-72 victory.

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    Still, there's nothing but love for the former Pirates, who are happy for each other to reach this far and achieve dreams they harbored during their days in Intramuros.

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    "Sobrang saya ko lang na nandito siya," said Perez, who had 15 points and five rebounds in the losing effort.

    "I'm so happy for him. As a brother siyempre, kung makikita mo yung kapatid mo na naglalaro na kasama mo, sobrang saya ko lang na kasama ko siya at natupad ang pangarap naming pareho.

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    "Alam ko si Ayaay, sobrang hardworker noon. Kung gusto niyang maabot yung pangarap, paghihirapan talaga niya yun. Sobrang happy ako na ganoon yung narating niya ngayon."

    Ayaay said they continue to live by the lessons learned from Lyceum coach Topex Robinson.

    "Malaki yung opportunity namin dito so huwag lang naming papabayaan at i-grab lang," he said. "Trabaho lang kasi darating yung panahon mo, 'yun 'yung ibibigay nina coach."

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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