CJ Perez seeks further improvement under Tim Cone at Gilas

CJ Perez seeks further improvement under Tim Cone at Gilas


CJ Perez Gilas Pilipinas

CJ Perez during Gilas Pilipinas’ practice.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—With another campaign for Gilas Pilipinas coming up, CJ Perez is now among the more experienced players for the national team heading into the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.

Perez, who turns 31 years old this year, is considered one of the veterans on the team along with Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee, June Mar Fajardo, Chris Newsome and Scottie Thompson.

But Perez doesn’t see himself having that stature yet but he’s hoping to get there when he further develops his game and learns how to become more of a leader under the tutelage of decorated coach Tim Cone.

“I’m not that much of a veteran yet but of course, I’m still learning in basketball and under the supervision of coach Tim, I’ll try to improve myself as an individual and as a basketball player,” said Perez in Filipino.

“But right now, I have yet to perfect coach Tim’s system so I’m still leaning on Jamie (Malonzo) and Scottie (Thompson).”

CJ Perez Tim Cone Gilas Pilipinas

CJ Perez and coach Tim Cone during Gilas Pilipinas practice.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

For someone who doesn’t see himself as a veteran, Perez certainly showed that he was a man among boys in the recently concluded PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where he won Best Player of the Conference and Finals MVP after leading San Miguel to its 29th title overall.

But the former Lyceum star, who averaged 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.8 assists, barely had time to celebrate as he had to answer Gilas’ call.

READ: Tim Cone puts Gilas sights on process, growth

“After PBA, I immediately had to change my mindset for Gilas. I only relaxed for two days but I’m always here for the country,” said Perez.

While not being the full-blown leader of the squad, Perez gave a status report on how well-oiled Gilas is with only a few days left until the Nationals open their campaign in Hong Kong.

Despite having only weeks to prepare, Perez said that Gilas had no problem working on their chemistry.

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“We’re confident in terms of our chemistry because we were each other in the World Cup and Asian Games. We only have a short preparation here so we’re making the most of it.”


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