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CJ Perez to join Gilas practice


BATANGAS CITY — Columbian rookie CJ Perez will join the Gilas Pilipinas Men practice on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City as confirmed by Coach Yeng Guiao.

“[I’m] looking forward to the future,” Guiao said on Sunday night after the game of his mother club, NLEX, against Ginebra at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum.

He cited two particular situations that are going to be imminent in the immediate future, but his primary concern right now is possible injuries to some Gilas players before the FIBA World Cup from August 31-September 15.

“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,” Guiao continued, citing Raymond Almazan’s injury during Gilas’ practice for its World Cup Qualifier match against Kazakhstan.

“Basically, we’re trying to get extra bodies just in case anything beyond our control happens,” Guiao added.

He then sees the invitation of Perez and fellow rookie Robert Bolick to the practice as an opportunity for the PBA neophytes to get a feel of his system early into Gilas’ gear-up for the Southeast Asian Games from November 30-December 11.

“Kung hinahanda na natin ngayon, andyan na sila, (If we have to develop them now, they are already here) 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 said. “Sa tingin ko naman, competitive na tayo (I think we can be competitive) with these guys kung talagang Gilas pa rin ang ipapadala nila dun sa (if Gilas will be sent to) SEA Games.”

Bolick and Perez are members of the Gilas Cadets pool being groomed for the 2023 FIBA World Cup that the Philippines will host alongside Indonesia and Japan. (PNA)