AS netizens begun regretting the 'what-could-have-beens' for Gilas Pilipinas at the 31st Southeast Asian Games, speculations mounted as to why CJ Perez wasn't part of the first Philippine basketball team not to win a gold medal in 33 years.
For the record, the San Miguel guard had a few decent stints with the national team, including the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China.
As fans began asking about his non-inclusion, Perez's wife Sienna Catacutan-Perez weighed in on Twitter, revealing that the high-flying guard was cut from the SEA Games-bound team at the last moment.
"He was part [of the team], minessage na sya actually and then we received a text na cinut ulit sya ni coach," said Mrs. Perez in a response to a Twitter post on the issue. Her tweets have since been deleted.
"I mean morning minessage kami na part sya, kinagabihan binawi," she continued, adding a 'face with tears of joy' emoji.
Catacutan, however, did not elaborate when this happened.
As SPIN.ph sought answers, the 28-year-old responded to our message but chose to sidestep the issue, expressing instead his unwavering commitment to serve Gilas at any given time.
"Better I stay away from this issue," he said. "I remain 100% committed to serving my country, anytime, anywhere."
Perez has never wavered in his commitment to Gilas even during his time with Terrafirma. He last played for the national team during the first window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, as well as the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for 3x3 last year.
The 6-2 high-flyer was also part of the gold medal-winning 3x3 sides in the 2019 SEA Games in Manila and also played for Yeng Guiao's Gilas side in China.
He was part of the original 30-man pool for the SEA Games but his name was no longer in the Final 16 released by Chot Reyes and his staff weeks before the Hanoi showpiece.
However, Gilas was forced to make last-minute changes when Kevin Alas, who was originally part of the Final 12, begged off to be by the side of his ailing wife Selena in her battle against a rare form on cancer.
Gilas eventually named reserve Jaydee Tungcab to the team, pending approval from the Vietnam SEA Games organizing committee.