CJ Perez: SMB now quicker with addition of Manuel, Enciso

Published November 23, 2021, 3:29 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from PBA

CJ Perez sees a different kind of pace for San Miguel Beer after adding younger pieces from a pair of trades that led to the breakup of the fabled “Death Five.”

Perez said that while coach Leo Austria has maintained the same system during ongoing preparations for the PBA Governors’ Cup, the addition of Vic Manuel and Simon Enciso will make the Beermen a quicker team.

“I think may konting adjustment sila coach, pero same system pa din,” Perez said in the One Sports’ program The Game. “Sa practice, yun pa rin naman ginagawa namin since yung first time na dumating ako.

“I think nakikita kong chances sa team is yung mas bata kami, mas may energy kami at mas mabilis kami,” added Perez, who is coming off his first conference with the Beermen.

SMB made significant chances after losing a tough seven-game semifinal series with eventual champion TNT in the Philippine Cup, sending Arwind Santos to NorthPort in exchange for muscular power forward Vic Manuel.

Alex Cabagnot was later traded to Terrafirma for Simon Enciso, leaving June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter as the only members of the multi-decorated starting five.

With the “Death Five” era over, reserve shooter Von Pessumal believes it will now take a collective effort in order the Beermen to stay competitive following the departures of their two long-time players.

“Sa akin bakit di natin gawing ‘Death 15?’ Bakit five lang e sa isang team 15 ang tao diba?,” Pessumal said in jest.

“But joking aside, I’m just saying yung mga guys na nagstay, they are all capable of replacing yung production nila. It’s just a matter of finding the right five, the right rotation.

“It may take a while, but I’m really confident that Coach Leo will find a way to make sure na maayos laro namin at magiging winning team pa din kami,” he added.