LYCEUM coach Topex Robinson is happy with the progress his former player CJ Perez is having in his first season in the PBA with Columbian.
Perez was named Rookie of the Month by the PBA Press Corps after averaging a team-best 17.8 points through his first four games, but Robinson insisted the high-flying freshman has barely scratched the surface of his potential.
“There is so much potential in him,” said Robinson, also an assistant coach of Phoenix Pulse in the PBA. “‘Yung process, I was telling him to be patient. There is so much expectations sa kanya coming in. He has to let the game come to himself. Huwag niya masyadong panggigilan.”
Robinson said he is no longer surprised that Perez has flourished while embracing a major role with the Dyip, who have been rejuvenated by his arrival.
“‘Yung bata can easily adjust sa sistema na bago. What’s important is the fighter in him. Kailangan niya i-sustain,” Robinson said.
Robinson and Perez recently crossed paths, this time in the PBA, after Columbian faced Phoenix Pulse last January 23, with the Dyip losing to the Fuel Masters, 108-98.
An interesting sidelight was the battle between Perez (Baby Beast) and Abueva (The Beast) which happened for the first time ever. Perez had 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two blocks in the match while Abueva had 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Robinson said Abueva was playfully asking who the real ‘Beast’ is after the match, but nonetheless appreciated Abueva's kind words to Perez.
“Challenge na nandoon si Calvin. There is so much story before that. Sabi ko nga, ang maganda kay Calvin, the Calvin in him (competitor), but at the end of the day, he wants CJ to grow. I’m happy na may challenge,” said Robinson.
“Calvin, actually, sa dugout after the game, sabi niya ‘Who is the real Beast?’” said Robinson with a smile “So far, para sa akin, as a coach, I’m happy for CJ. Hopefully, magkasama kami in the future.”
Even before Perez stepped on the PBA floor, comparisons between Perez and Abueva were inevitable. Robinson, however, insisted the 'Beast' and 'Baby Beast' are two very different animals.
“Those are two different (players). No comparison. Just because where they came from. Siguro ‘yun lang. Pero totally different. They can be together in the team. They know na walang comparison sa kanila. It’s just a matter na idol ng isa ‘yung isa,” said Robinson.