For the last couple of years, CJ Perez and MJ Ayaay have fought many battles side-by-side – such as in FilOil tournaments, PCCL, PBA D-League, and of course in the NCAA – while proudly waving the Lyceum Pirates’ flag.
Those shared moments made the two brothers. But the time came when they had to go their separate ways.
On Wednesday night, however, Ayaay and Perez shared the SM Mall of Asia Arena floor once again – a floor that had witnessed some of their great games together. But this time around, they weren’t wearing the same colors.
Perez is now wearing the Columbian Dyip’s forest green and immaculate white colors. Meanwhile, Ayaay is now clad in the classic red, black, and white scheme of the Alaska Aces. They are now trekking the mountains of the pros.
The result didn’t go in Perez’ favor, as Ayaay’s Aces dismantled his Dyip, 72-94. But Perez is simply happy to see his brother in the pro ranks as well.
“As a brother siyempre, makikita mo yung kapatid mo na naglalaro kasama mo, sobrang saya ko na nandito siya, na natupad yung pangarap namin.
“Siyempre alam ko si Ayaay, sobrang hardworking. Kung gusto niya makamit yung pangarap niya, paghihirapan niya. Sobrang happy ako na narating niya yun,” said the soft-spoken Perez, the top overall pick of the 2018 Rookie Draft.
The two had actually spoken to each other prior to the game, wishing each other the best of luck as they were about to play against each other for the first time. “Nag-usap kami. Siyempre ano lang, nag-good luck-an lang kami,” Perez said.
On the other hand, Ayaay quipped, “Okay lang. Nag-usap na kami two days before the game.”
“Sabi ko, ‘Yari ka sa akin, parang practice lang!'”
Their first of – most likely – many more encounters is now in the books. But even if they are now apart from each other, their brotherhood remains strong.