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CJ Perez named PBA Rookie of the Month

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By Miles Morales

Columbian Dyip’s prized rookie CJ Perez was quick to validate his status as the top overall pick in the PBA draft as he emerged the unanimous choice for first PBA Press Corps Rookie of the Month award.

The former NCAA MVP led Columbian to a 2-2 slate in his first four games in the season-opening tournament, averaging 6.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while adding 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals (tied for team-best).

Perez immediately made his presence felt right on his PBA debut when he exploded for 26 points to steer the Dyip to a 124-118 upset of defending champion San Miguel Beermen.

The 25-year-old’s arrival obviously reinvigorated the franchise which could only sow a single victory in last year’s Philippine Cup.

Also in contention for the monthly honor were Robert Bolick of NorthPort, Blackwater’s Abu Tratter, and Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine.

Bolick, the no. 3 overall pick, averaged 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists as the Batang Pier went 2-1 in the first three games of the former San Beda star for the franchise.

The 23-year-old Leyte native also posted 26 points in his pro debut, a 117-91 NorthPort drubbing of Blackwater, but was on the losing end of his highly-anticipated match-up with Perez as the Dyip hacked out a 110-100 victory over the Batang Pier. Perez finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Bolick was held to just three points but had seven rebounds and six assists.

The 7th pick overall, Tratter averaged a second team-best 12.7 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds in the Elite’s first three outings for a 1-2 record. The rookie out of La Salle has been labeled by coach Bong Ramos the most consistent player so far for Blackwater, shooting 54 percent from the field as the team’s starting center.

Mocon also made a good account of himself in his first three games where Rain or Shine went 2-1, posting all around averages of 9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.