CJ Perez showed little rust in his official preseason debut for Ateneo on Thursday in their win over Letran in the Filoil Cup, vowing to make up for lost time in residency due to his transfer from San Sebastian to the Blue Eagles nest.
The 22-year-old Perez admitted it has been a long wait, but shared he's been staying ready and sharp to play for the Blue Eagles in the UAAP in his time away from the limelight.
Most observers considered Perez’s move as risky since he disappeared from the spotlight during his residency, losing ground to his rivals for attention of scouts looking for possible PBA prospects.
But the former San Sebastian Stag doesn’t see it that way, expressing confidence that he can eventually redeem himself in the UAAP next season especially with the work he has put in during the residency period.
“Naisip ko din ‘yun na makakalimutan ako ng mga tao pero sa tingin ko, babalik naman ‘yun pagdating ng UAAP,” said Perez.
“Maraming liga naman ako na nasalihan at nag-improve din ako sa mga liga na ‘yun. Maganda naman ang samahan ng mga players kaya naging komportable ako,” he added.
He backed up his talk of improved play in his Filoil debut with the Blue Eagles, where he had eight points and eight rebounds in only 12 minutes of play, most of which came in the first half.
“Medyo ninerbyos ako ng konti,” Perez admitted. “Kasi first time ko maglaro sa kanila. ‘Yung mga teammates ko, umaasa rin sa akin pero hindi ko iniisip ‘yun dahil alam ko ‘yung ginagawa ko. Masaya ako para sa first game ko.”
Perez also sees some more room for improvement which he intends to address in the months heading into the UAAP.
“Hirap ako mag-assists at saka ‘yung mga outside shooting, pina-practice ko na rin,” said Perez.