Just like everyone else, the San Beda University Red Lions were surprised with the NCAA’s decision to suspend CJ Perez for Game One of the NCAA Seniors Basketball Finals.
The suspension stems from Perez’s camp failing to notify the Grand Old League through a formal letter that he has thrown his name in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.
In 2007, San Beda’s Yousif Aljamal was suspended for three games because of the same infraction. This time around, the league only handed Perez a one-game ban.
“Kung may rule ang NCAA, you have to follow the rules on that.
“Unang-una, hindi namin alam na meron palang mga meeting na ganyan. We were just surprised na nag-text kayo na wala nga si CJ, suspended this afternoon lang,” disclosed San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez. “We practiced this morning, and previous days in preparation for a complete line-up against LPU.”
And Fernandez believes that losing Perez – who is averaging 18.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.3 steals per game – will bring a whole new dynamic to the Pirates.
“Without CJ, it will be a different rotation from LPU, so ‘di ko lang alam. I’m sure LPU will come out really strong tomorrow – with a lot more intensity and effort kasi nga they’re losing they’re number one player and scorer. We have to find ways to match up with that,” added the decorated tactician.
“We prepared for Perez, pero siyempre wala naman kami magagawa dun.”
For their part, the Red Lions have no time to change their game plan. The important thing for Fernandez right now is for his team to match the energy of the Pirates, who have won games both with or without Perez in the past.
“Tapos na kami mag-practice for tomorrow’s game. We just have to see what the adjustments of coach Topex [Robinson] and we’ll adjust to that,” he shared.
“As of now, we’re still looking as if CJ’s playing there. ‘Di naman kami basta basta magbabago kasi parehas lang naman, with or without CJ, LPU is still a strong team. They played without CJ before and they won their games,” he added.
“They’re losing their top scorer and top player, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t play tough and hard tomorrow.”
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