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2023 FIBA World Cup

CJ Perez uses SMB-Ginebra game as warmup for Gilas grind

ANTIPOLO – CJ Perez suited up for San Miguel in their PBA On Tour game against the debuting Ginebra, Sunday night.

The star guard could actually prolong his vacation after helping Gilas Pilipinas reclaim the Southeast Asian Games gold medal in Cambodia, but chose to join his team to regain rhythm in preparation for another tough grind ahead.

Wednesday will be the start of the national team’s preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, which is just two months from now.

“Tagal ko na napahinga e,” he told reporters moments after the Beermen’s 90-78 victory over the Gin Kings at the Ynares Center here.

Perez finished with 15 points, four rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a block, but admitted that he’s yet to get to where he’d want to be.

“Medyo jogging jogging lang ako kanina kasi ayoko namang pilitin, baka ma-injure pa,” said the 29-year-old, who only made 5 of his 19 attempts from the line in 34 minutes. “Kuha lang talaga ng rhythm, ng hangin.

“Medyo madaming workouts pa bago bumalik ‘yung conditioning. Ginawa ko lang din naman ‘to para maka-prepare ako sa praktis ng Gilas.”

San Miguel, of course, felt glad to have Perez in the lineup as it’s missing key cogs such as Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and June Mar Fajardo.

“That’s a good blessing for us kasi we have a lot of people down but CJ is here and he’s here to help us,” said head coach Jorge Gallent.

Perez will play in their next two games against Rain or Shine on Wednesday and versus Meralco on Saturday in Tiaong, although he’d still report to Gilas practices in between before going full-time after the Bolts match.

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“Sina Coach, kailangan nila ng tao, kasi walang iba e. Wala ng wings kasi si Robbie [Herndon] hindi pa bumabalik, and Marcio and si Ross, injured pa eh. Dito lang ako para tumulong,” said the former Rookie of the Year.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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