CJ Perez looks forward to testing his mettle against some of the world’s best as he joins Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in India, set on March 18-22.
The Columbian Dyip star will wave the Philippine flag in the tilt, together with fellow PBA cager Mo Tautuaa and the top two 3×3 players in the country today, Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol.
“Doon ko makikita kung kaya ko talaga maglaro ng 3×3 kasi mas malalakas ‘yung makalalaban doon eh,” Peres said on Tuesday evening, hours after the SBP announced the lineup.
“Excited na ako.”
Perez is no stranger to 3×3 basketball, since he already competed in the FIBA 3×3 All-Stars back in 2016.
Then just last December, he and Tautuaa — along with Chris Newsome and Jason Perkins — represented the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games 3×3. Together, the quartet lorded the competition over to clinch gold.
But even given his experiences in the sport, Perez expects the OQT to be a different animal.
“Feeling ko, ibang-iba ‘yung makakalaban dun. Mas experienced sila at saka matagal na sila naglalaro ng 3×3, kaya pinaghahandaan din talaga namin,” said the 26-year-old from Pangasinan.
The Filipino dribblers have themselves a tall task ahead since they are vying for one of three tickets to this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Still, Perez is optimistic about the team.
The reigning PBA scoring champ said that the squad has begun buckling down to work Tuesday. He likes how fluid the communication is among them, which will definitely be a big help in the meet.
“Feeling ko, maganda ‘yung communication namin nina Pasaol at Munzon. Parang [magiging] madali ‘yung trabaho naming apat.”