CJ Perez deflected the credit for his first career triple-double to his teammates whose shots allowed him to record 12 assists which also went with 15 points and 13 rebounds in SMB’s 111-92 victory over Converge on Sunday.
“Sobrang happy siyempre. Maraming salamat sa mga coaches and sa mga teammates ko for making their shots,” said Perez during the post-game presser.
But Perez is getting much inspiration from Chris Ross who has been in SMB’s sick bay for two games already after hurting his right knee in their game against Magnolia last week.
“Nainsipire lang ako na nandun si Chris Ross sa sideline kasi tinuturuan niya talaga kami, tinutulungan kami mag facilitate ang kung paano namin itakbo yung play,” said Perez who admitted that Ross’ absence in the guard position is quite a big shoes to fill in although he and his teammates are finding ways to step up and carry the load.
“Pressure sa amin yun kasi si Chris Ross talaga yung nagkokontrol ng game namin pero sabi ko nga willing mag step up yung ibang mga point guards nami. Siyempre mahihirapan kami pero kayang kaya naman for sure,” said Perez.
Without the veteran playmaker, Perez, and Jericho Cruz shared the point guard chores while also getting quality minutes from Simon Enciso and Paul Zamar. In fact it was when Perez and Cruz manned the point, the Beermen were able to pull away with their transition attacks anchored on the two.
For coach Leo Austria, Perez’s career milestone was a show of his maturity and better understanding of the game.
“Alam naman natin na he can score, he can rebound but issuing an assist is a good achievement for him, it’s a sign of maturity and he knows what to do regarding the team,” said the multi-titled coach.
For Perez, though, he was just doing his job to help his team keep its spot in the upper part of the standings.
“Iniisip ko lang talaga mainvolve yung mga teammates ko ngayon at sa mga sususnod pa na games,” said high-scoring guard.
“Nagtitiwala lang kami sa isa’t isa para makapanalo ngayon and sabi nga nila coach lumamang kami ng ganun kailangan may killer instinct para sa susunod na game madala namin.”