The past 24 hours have been big for CJ Perez.
A day after being named to the Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 team that will compete in the 2020 FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the 6-foot-1 utility guard was also named to the 5-on-5 national team that will face Indonesia on Sunday in the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
But according to Gilas 3×3 head coach Stefan Stojacic, he would rather have Perez play in just one sport since the current Columbian Dyip sophomore will have a tougher task with the team compared to Mo Tautuaa.
“For Mo, it’s going to be easier. He is the big guy and he will play inside. For CJ, especially about the defense, he’s going to have trouble I think,” opined Stojacic.
“Still, I think he is a good player — individually, he is really good. We will see since it will be a much bigger change for him than Mo,” continued the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Tour MVP.
“When you are playing the big guy, you are going to play big. But if you are playing on the outside in 3×3, you need to guard everyone, get the rebound; you need to be an all-around player. There is no place to hide in 3×3.”
However, the schedule of Perez and Tautuaa is beyond Stojacic’s control.
The team will compete in India from March 18 to 22 in the global meet that has three Olympic slots at stake.
Besides training with Gilas’ 3×3 and 5-on-5 squads, Perez is also training with Columbian in the morning. Tautuaa, on the other hand, is practicing with San Miguel.
The PBA season begins on March 8. It is still unknown whether the two will be excused by their mother clubs.
But it’s not just those two. Alvin Pasaol is also playing for MPBL club team Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines.
Stojacic is then asking if all of them can focus on just the 3×3 beginning this March.
“I don’t know about the scheduling, but I’m here to give advice to Coach Eric [Altamirano]. But for me, it’s bad to play 5-on-5 and 3×3 at the same time because it’s different,” shared Stojacic.
“It would be good if he could play just 3×3 for two straight weeks [before the OQT]. That would be perfect if everyone plays just 3×3 during that time. That will make a difference in their mindsets.”
But Stojacic expects he’ll have the most work to do with Perez.
“I expect him to be one of the scorers of the team, but we need to work on the defense,” he said.
“That is what is important right now. I know he is part of the 5-on-5 team, but after the window, he should come and stay in 3×3. But that is not my decision.”