CJ Perez juggles Gilas 5x5, 3x3 training ahead of FIBA ACQ, OQT stints

CJ Perez will be busy for Gilas Pilipinas Men early this year. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Among the Gilas Pilipinas Men players, CJ Perez would be the busiest for the first quarter of the year as he will be in two international events.

The Columbian guard was named to the Gilas Men 5x5 team that will face Indonesia to begin their campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Wednesday night, a day after he was also named as a member of the Gilas 3x3 squad that will compete in the FIBA 3x3 OQT.

"Blessings sa career ko ito kasi lahat naman ng players, dini-dream na pumunta dito at nabigyan ako ng chance para makapunta dito," Perez said after the national 5x5 team practice on Wednesday night at the Meralco Gym.

His inclusion to the final lineups for Gilas Men is somehow expected considering his stellar showing during last year's FIBA World Cup (5x5) and Southeast Asian Games (3x3).

"It's an honor na ma-represent uli ang country," Perez further said.

Now, a dilemma ensues: he now has to fix his training schedule with Gilas 5x5, Gilas 3x3, and even with the Dyip as the PBA season is nearing. However, Perez insisted that he has already dealt with balancing his time in practices.

"Sinabi ko naman sa 3x3, 'Basta hindi conflict dito sa schedule ng five-on-five, magko-commit ako and willing akong maglaro sa 3x3,'" he quipped.

On Wednesday, Perez had a smooth sailing as he got to train with the 3x3 team at the Ronac Living Gallery in Mandaluyong before going straight to the Meralco Gym here for the 5x5 practice.

But with the Indonesia game coming up on Sunday night, he further said, "Mas mauuna itong five-on-five, so focus muna ako dito sa five-on-five."

He then vowed, "Ibibigay ko ang best ko kasi minsan lang tayong nandito. Di natin mase-secure yung tomorrow, so kailangan lang naming mag-focus lalo na ako. Kailangan kong mag-focus kung ano ang kaya kong gawin."

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