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CJ Perez looking to make up for lost time

After a year in residency limbo, former San Sebastian Golden Stag CJ Perez finally made his debut with the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles. Thusday afternoon, Perez faced a familiar foe in his Team A debut with the Blue Eagles in facing the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights.

And just as advertised, Perez played bigger than his 6’1″ frame.

The Baby Beast had already tallied six points and five rebounds in the first half before finishing the game with eights points and eights boards in just 12 minutes of action. “Medyo ninerbyos kasi first time ko maglaro sa kanila eh,” Perez said after the Blue Eagles’ 66-53 win. “[Pero] masaya na ako doon para sa first game ko.”

He played very well especially after going on a long lay-off. He played well even if he did not know 50% of what we are doing,” long time Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said about the 22 year old transferee. “We’re happy with what we saw. He is a very good basketball player and you saw it. We were impressed.”

“Hindi nga 50% eh, mga nasa 30% pa lang kasi kaka-practice ko pa lang kahapon and wala pa ako masyado sa kundisyon ko,” Perez quipped.

Perez admitted that he showed a little rust in his game but did not lose focus even in playing in Ateneo’s Team B for a year. “Hindi naman kasi marami kaming ligang sinalihan so parang nag-eenjoy din ako sa mga liga na yun, and yun mga ang pakikisama rin ng mga player. Naging komportable ako so hindi ako nainip,” the Interdisciplinary Studies student-athlete shared about his experience in Loyola Heights.

CJ-Perez2 CJ Perez looking to make up for lost time ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

CJ Perez played just 12 minutes in his Team A debut for the Blue Eagles (Peter Baltazar – Sports on Air)

During that time, Perez shared that he added a few facets to his game especially on offense. “Yung assists. Kasi dati hirap na hirap ako um-assist. Mga outside shots [din], yun din ang pinractice ko,” he said.

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“Mahirap kasi parang yung mga teammate ko parang umaasa din sa akin pero hindi ko iniisip yun kasi alam ko naman kaya nilang gawin ang ginagawa ko. Ang mga tao din, may ine-expect sila sa akin na maganda ang gagawin ko.”

“The good thing is he is a good team player too. That’s simply what he wants, to complement his teammates well,” Arespacochage added.

Moreover, the pressure of playing under National team head coach Tab Baldwin is an experience he is fully embracing. “Yun nga, na-excite nga ako kasi parang, yung adjustment ng laro ko, parang papunta na sa preparation,” he said with glee.

Tab-Baldwin-Ateneo CJ Perez looking to make up for lost time ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Tab Baldwin is also the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles (Richard Esguerra)

“Sobrang malaking tulong yun sa akin kasi siya ang may alam ng basketball talaga and marami akong matutunan sa kanya.”

Knowing this, Perez is hoping that the proposed rule of extending a student-athlete’s eligibility timeframe pushes through. “Depende na lang din siguro yun sa mga coaches ko and sa Ateneo pag papabalikan nila ako,” he closed.

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