Facing lower-rung teams to open the second round, Lyceum did what it was supposed to do: to win.
And the catalyst for the Pirates sustaining their immaculate 11-game victorious stretch? No less than CJ Perez.
Just like how he was through the course of the first round, the do-it-all forward was once again the oil that made Lyceum of the Philippines’ engine run, averaging 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steal in its two games.
With that, Perez earned the nod as the Chooks-to-Go-NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week, edging San Beda’s Javee Mocon, and Perpetual’s Prince Eze and Gab Dagangon for the weekly citation handed out by the scribes from the print and online media covering the beat.
The 23-year-old Perez set the tone early for Lyceum last Tuesday, unfurling 14 of his points in the first quarter en route to a 22-point and 9-rebound performance in their 96-90 win over Mapua.
He then commanded the Pirates’ all-out assault on Friday, churning 14 markers, nine boards, three assists, and two steals in its 83-69 rout of College of Saint Benilde.
But Perez isn’t resting on his laurels, noting that with this unbeaten run, Lyceum already has a target on its back.
“Tulad nga ng sinasabi ni coach sa amin, yung other teams nakaka-catch up na,” he said.
Pirates coach Topex Robinson is hammering that thought to his wards as he braces for tougher challenges as the second round gets deeper.
“This is an uncharted territory for us. But if we want to stay on top, there’s a lot of responsibilities that come with it and we can’t let our guards down against any team. From here on, it’s just going to get tougher,” he said.
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