by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (Ynares Center, Antipolo City)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Meralco
6:45 p.m. – Phoenix Pulse vs TNT KaTropa
Top rookie pick CJ Perez picked the right time to introduce himself and was given a big applause.
Against a star-studded squad, Perez refused to be intimidated, exploding for 26 points in his pro debut as he helped power Columbian Dyip to a stunning 124-118 win against four-time defending all-Filipino champion San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Cup last night at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Though he struggled in the first 24 minutes with just two points in a miserable 1-of-6 shooting from the field with two turnovers, the 6-foot-2 Perez made a quick turnaround in the final two quarters.
The former NCAA Most Valuable Player from the Lyceum Pirates went 8-of-14 in the last 24 minutes, while adding five rebounds plus an assist and a steal in nearly 33 minutes of action.
Meantime, Phoenix goes for its second win when it battles TNT KaTropa
KaTropa in the Petron Saturday Special set at 6:30 p.m.
Clashing in the first game at 4:30 p.m. are Blackwater and Meralco.
An uncontested layup by Perez following a missed three-point attempt by SMB’s Marcio Lassiter broke the last deadlock at 112-all, and it sparked a deciding 10-4 run by Columbian Dyip.
“The feeling is really good,” said Perez in Filipino after the game. “Of course… first the game was against SMB, was so much pressure but it was a good opportunity for us to perform.”
COLUMBIAN 124 – Perez 26, Corpuz 21, Celda 15, Reyes 12, Camson 11, Escoto 11, McCarthy 8, Agovida 8, King 7, Calvo 3, Cahilig 2, Khobuntin 0, Faundo 0, Gabriel 0.
SAN MIGUEL 118 – Santos 34, Lassiter 25, Fajardo 16, Cabagnot 12, Nabong 11, Romeo 7, Standhardinger 6, Zamar 3, Ross 2, Pessumal 2, Tubid 0.
Quarters: 24-27, 51-54, 85-86, 124-118.