No doubt about CJ

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
No doubt about CJ
CJ Perez (77)
PBA Images

There’s a raging debate on who actually deserves the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Best Import award after Phoenix’ Johnathan Williams bagged the accolade when the hot favorites were Magnolia’s Tyler Bey and San Miguel Beer’s Bennie Boatwright. Williams was second in statistical points and third in player votes. What kicked J3 up the ladder was the media poll where he was first in 30 of 38 votes.

Up to the semis, Williams averaged 24.5 points, 16.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists. His free throw shooting was a poor .559 or just slightly higher than his field goal clip of .555. Williams led Phoenix to the semis, a major feat for the Super LPG Fuel Masters, and wasn’t 100 percent in the best-of-five series against top seed Magnolia from Game One. But Williams soldiered on, battled and Phoenix even stole Game Three from the Chicken Timplados Hotshots.

PBA stats chief Fidel Mangonon noted that Williams wasn’t the first Best Import handicapped by dismal foul shooting. In the 2007 Fiesta Conference, Alaska’s Rossell Ellis took the trophy despite hitting .523 from the line. In the 2008 Fiesta Conference, Ginebra’s Chris Alexander was named Best Import even if he shot .528 from the stripe. In the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup, Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku claimed the honor but shot a lowly .480 from the line.

For the Best Player of the Conference award, no doubt San Miguel’s CJ Perez deserved it. The candidates were Perez, Ginebra’s Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson, NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino and TNT’s Calvin Oftana. In statistical points, Perez collected 464, two less than Standhardinger. In media votes, Perez was the runaway choice with 505 and Standhardinger was second with 266. CJ was first in 37 of 38 media ballots. He also topped the players votes with 86 and Standhardinger was next with 45. In total, Perez amassed 1,055 points while Standhardinger got 777, Tolentino 559, Oftana 472 and Thompson 446.

Up to the end of the elims, Perez averaged 16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, shooting .405 from the floor and .682 from the stripe. Perez, 30, is chasing his second PBA championship this conference. He made his first Finals appearance in last season’s Philippine Cup where San Miguel bagged the championship. CJ is in his fifth PBA season after joining the Beermen in 2021 from Terrafirma. With Gilas, CJ has seen action in two FIBA World Cups and was on gold medal teams in the SEA and Asian Games. Additionally, Perez combined forces with Mo Tautuaa, Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol to strike gold in 3x3 at the 2019 SEA Games.

In college, Perez searched for a home. He initially went to La Salle but never got a chance to suit up with the Archers. Then, Perez played for San Sebastian, transferred to Ateneo where he saw action in two Filoil Flying V preseason games and returned to the NCAA with Lyceum. In the PBA, he has found a happy home with San Miguel.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with