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CJ Perez to join Gilas practice

CJ Perez is set to join the Gilas Pilipinas Men practice on Monday night. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

BATANGAS CITY—Another relatively new face is coming into the Gilas Pilipinas Men practice on Monday night.

National team head coach Yeng Guiao said on Sunday night that Columbian rookie CJ Perez will join the national team pool in training at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.

Perez will become the second member of the Gilas Cadets pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup that will grace the practice for the upcoming 2019 edition as NorthPort's Robert Bolick himself confirmed about going to Gilas the night before, which Guiao affirmed as well.

[Related Story: Bolick confirms invitation of Gilas Pilipinas]

"Sa pagkakaalam ko, nag-indicate na darating si Bolick at si CJ," Guiao said.

On why he invited Perez, Guiao replied, "[I'm] looking forward to the future. Although we will just be 12 doon sa regular lineup, I think we will leave one or two as back up kung sakaling may mangyaring injuries. Basically, we’re trying to get extra bodies just in case anything beyond our control happens," citing Raymond Almazan's injury during Gilas' practice for its World Cup Qualifier match against Kazakhstan.

Guiao also sees the Bolick and Perez's invites as an opportunity for the PBA neophytes to get a feel of his system early into Gilas' gear-up for the Southeast Asian Games.

"Kung hinahanda na natin ngayon, andyan na sila, that’s going to give the guys like sila Paul [Lee] and sina [Mark] Barroca siguro dun sa position na yun a break if they want to take a break para sa Southeast Asian Games," Guiao continued. "Sa tingin ko naman, competitive na tayo with these guys kung talagang Gilas pa rin ang ipapadala nila dun sa SEA Games."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno