Once again, CJ misses playoffs
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) – November 10, 2020 – 12:00am
Inside the bubble
SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — Sophomore CJ Perez has topped the PBA scoring board once more and yet, he crashed out of playoff contention for the second straight year.
With Terrafirma out of the race in the Philippine Cup restart, Perez’ days inside the bubble are numbered – putting to waste another solid season built on league-best 25.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
Last year, Perez completed arguably the second greatest rookie season in PBA history (only behind Benjie Paras’ Rookie-MVP year in 1989) highlighted by Rookie of the Year, Scoring Champion, Mythical First Team and All-Defensive Team citations.
But until now, Perez has yet to reach the playoffs.
“Wala namang pagmamadali. Kung ano ibigay ni God na path sa career ko, yun ang susundin ko. Basta every game, ang mindset ko ibigay ang best ko. Playoffs talaga ang goal ko at pangarap sa team,” the pride of Bautista, Pangasinan told The STAR.
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Ginebra coach Tim Cone defended his team’s lackluster showing in an 81-66 loss to reigning champion and sister team San Miguel Beer last Sunday, an effort that drew “Sagip Kapamilya” criticisms from fans online.
“I assure you I want to beat San Miguel more than anybody,” said Cone, saying the Gin Kings just had “dead legs” coming off a tough win against TNT Tropang Giga the other night.
“I truly apologize to the fans if what we did was construed differently,” he added of his decision to pull out and rest his starters after the Beermen pulled away in the final quarter.
The loss dragged Ginebra to 7-3 but remained on the inside track for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals pending its last game against Terrafirma. The Beermen boosted their own top-four hopes with a 6-4 card.
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Former Ateneo Blue Eagles in the PBA bubble treated themselves to an ice cream get together at the Meqeni Lounge of the Quest Hotel courtesy of Meralco coach Norman Black and TNT Tropang Giga deputy Sandy Arespacochaga.
LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram, Kiefer Ravena, Chris Newsome, Justin Chua, JC Intal and courtside reporter Selina Dagdag-Alas with rookies Adrian Wong and Vince Tolentino bannered the rare Blue Eagles reunion.
“It was a great feeling to have a reunion with former Blue Eagles. We see each other around the hotel everyday but it was nice to get everyone together for a photo op. The Ateneo family is quite strong in the bubble,” said Black, the author of Ateneo UAAP five-peat from 2008-2012.