CJ Perez stood out among Lyceum of the Philippines University’s mammoth crowd on Sunday in its matchup against Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
The former league MVP was seen on courtside, supporting the Pirates as they racked up fifth straight victory.
And he is glad to be back in the NCAA — but as a supporter this time.
“Sobrang happy na nakita ko yung crowd. Sobrang happy na yung NCAA ay nakabalik na talaga,” said the recent PBA Champion.
“Nakikita ko sa LPU Pirates na kahit natatambakan sila, lumalaban. Nandodon yung puso. So excited to watch the NCAA.”
Indeed, the Pirates fought hard in this one as they climbed back after trailing by as much as 19 points in the game and eventually took a hard-fought 82-75 victory against the two-time defending champions.
What delights Perez more was the growth of his apprentice Enoch Valdez.
“Sobrang proud ako sa kinakapatid ko na si Enoch [Valdez]. Sobrang nakikita ko yung improvement. Talagang yung sipag niya worth it talaga kasi nagagamit niya talaga sa game,” the proud mentor said.
“Siyempre as a veteran or some player, mas nakakatandang kapatid ganon ‘yung turingan namin eh. And lagi ako sobrang proud kay Enoch kasi nakikita ko ‘yung sipag; sipag niya every off-season kahit sa season talaga nag e-extra work out siya, so dun ako na-impressed kay Enoch kasi before di naman siya ganon, pero ngayon talaga ‘yung mindset niya nag iba,” he continued.
Both Perez and Valdez played together back in Season 94. It was the former’s last year as a Pirate while the latter was just a budding cager.
“Talagang iniba niya ‘yung approach niya sa basketball, naging seryoso siya sa basketball. Sinabi ko naman sa kanya ‘yung basketball ‘yun makaktulog sa kanya eh,” he said.
“Siyempre, alam naman natin na parehas lang kami kung san kami pinanggalingan, so alam niya ‘yung basketball makakatulong sa kanya.”
With Valdez being one of the leaders for Lyceum, the Pirates sure have a long way to go this season.