The careers of Robert Bolick and CJ Perez will forever be intertwined.
Back when they were in college, Bolick and Perez led San Beda and Lyceum, respectively, to back-to-back Finals appearances. Bolick held the heads-up matchup, 4-3, while the Red Lions won two championships at the expense of the Pirates.
Still, Perez ended up as the top overall pick in the 2018 PBA Draft, while Bolick went third.
In the pros, the two faced off in four elimination round games. Perez owns a 3-1 advantage over Bolick (2-1 during the 2019-20 season and an 88-86 win last July 25).
Now, the two will face each other again – this time in a best-of-three quarterfinal in the 2021 Honda PBA Philippine Cup. And the two can’t wait to square off once again.
“Siyempre masaya. Happy ako kung saan siya ngayon kahit na medyo may rivalry kami sa college, tapos naging teammates kami sa World Cup,” said Bolick about their upcoming series.
“Ang dami naming natutunan sa isa’t isa. Happy for him na nandun siya sa San Miguel.”
For Perez, he is just glad that his Gilas roommate during the 2019 FIBA World Cup is just back on the court and playing.
“Ako naman excited ako na makalaban siya,” Perez told Tiebreaker Times. “Grabe nilalaro niya ngayon.
“I’m so happy na nakabalik siya ng mas malakas after ng injury niya.”
In his first conference with San Miguel, Perez, a two-time scoring champion, is averaging 17.2 points on 44.3-percent shooting from downtown. He also has 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
In his third season with NorthPort, Bolick has been the main man, norming 18.1 points on 39.4-percent shooting from the field with 7.3 assists and 6.9 rebounds.
Of course, the two good friends can’t help but throw jabs at one another, especially Bolick, who has a couple of championships over Perez.
“It’s gonna be a good match-up. Sana pabor pa rin sa akin. Sana ako pa rin ang manalo,” quipped Bolick.
But for Perez, he hopes that he can finally get a playoff win over Bolick.
“Oo, dalawang playoffs niya ako tinalo nun sa college,” said Perez.
“Sana ngayon ibigay naman niya na sa’kin!”