CJ Perez is about to embark on the next chapter of his career.
Tuesday afternoon, the lowly Terraforma squad officially shipped the 6-foot-2 utility guard to the storied San Miguel franchise.
Though glad that the drama surrounding the controversial transaction is finally over, the 27-year-old native of Pangasinan knows that expectations will be high once he joins the loaded Beermen.
“Happy pero I think mas maraming challenges pa ang darating.
“Hindi naman natin ma-kokontrol lahat ‘yan. Hindi ko pa ma-grasp ‘yung feeling kasi bago pa lang eh. Alam naman natin mataas ang magiging expectation ng tao. ‘Yun ‘yung iniisip ko,” Perez told Tiebreaker Times.
For the past decade, San Miguel have dominated in the PBA.
For the last 10 years, the Beermen have won nine crowns – including five straight in the Philippine Cup from 2015-19. The streak only snapped this last season.
This trade saw San Miguel give up bench guys Gelo Alolino, Russel Escoto, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser along with the eighth overall pick in the 2021 PBA Draft. And many saw it as a response to losing the Philippine Cup last year.
“Nandiyan naman talaga ‘yung pressure kahit saang team ka naman. Depende na lang sa akin kung paano ko iha-handle ‘yun,” said Perez, who is currently in Gilas’ Calambubble.
Perez, who is entering his third year, has proven that he belongs among the league’s best.
Despite the Dyip finishing dead last in the PBA bubble, Perez was still in the race for the Best Player of the Conference crown. He averaged a league-high 24.36 points to go along with 6.82 rebounds, 4.27 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.
But for him, he is willing to sacrifice those numbers just to experience something that was not granted to him with Terrafirma – winning.
“Sana ma-continue ko ‘yung naitanim na nila pati ‘yung tradition. Gusto ko lang makatulong sa kanila.”