|CJ Perez is still performing well despite Columbian's late struggle. PBA Media Group (file photo)|
By Dugout Philippines
MANILA—Despite falling short of a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup, CJ Perez still found a way to stamp his class for Columbian Dyip in the season-opening meet.
Perez averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists to emerge as the PBA Press Corps March Rookie of the Year, a stretch that saw the Dyip very much in contention of making the playoffs only to tumble in the end after a close 101-98 loss to TnT Katropa in their final game of the eliminations.
The Dyip went 1-3 during the month.
It was the second monthly citation received by the 25-year-old top rookie pick of 2018 after initially being picked as the first recipient of the honor for January.
Perez edged out NorthPort’s Robert Bolick in a close vote, 8-6, to earn the citation. Alaska’s Jesper Ayaay (5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds) likewise got a single vote for the citation.
The Batang Pier did make the playoffs following a late push in the eliminations, although Bolick, selected no. 3 overall in the last draft, struggled a bit during the month that saw him submitting averages of 6.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists.
NorthPort went 2-3 in that same span.
Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine actually submitted even better numbers by averaging 10.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Picked no. 5 overall, Mocon was the top rookie pick for the month of February.
Although not part of the voting, Perez nonetheless capped the month by emerging as the MVP of the Rookies/Sophomores versus Juniors during the All-Star week in Calasiao, Pangasinan.
The former Lyceum star willed his team to a come-from-behind 141-140 win over the Juniors as he finished with 32 points on 6-of-12 shooting from three-point range, while scoring 18 in the fourth quarter to highlight the comeback.
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