CJ Perez’s energy sparks San Miguel in Game 1 win

PBA Finals Magnolia Hotshots San Miguel Beermen

San Miguel’s CJ Perez in Game 1 of the PBA Finals against Magnolia Hotshots. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—In a cutthroat fourth quarter between San Miguel and Magnolia in Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, CJ Perez acted as the role model for the Beermen to hold on until the final buzzer.

The Beermen won 103-95, but not without a tough payoff period effort from the Hotshots but they managed to fend off any efforts to steal the games, thanks in large part to Perez, who came away with Player of the Game honors.

The athletic guard poured in 19 points on offense but his energy on defense with three steals served proved contagious for the Beermen to take the 1-0 series lead.

“They believe that I can contribute so I think that’s one of the things [steals] I can give. I think I bring them good energy. We just need to stay composed and give more our energy because this is Magnolia. They won’t stop until the game is done,” said Perez in Filipino at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

“I just  try give my best every game and I don’t want to break my coaches’ and my teammates’ trust. They believe that I can  contribute so every game I show effort and consistency. That’s what’s always on my mind.”

{erez played 28 minutes in Game 1, with most of that time in the fourth quarter where the Hotshots mounted a comeback.

San Miguel led by as much as 20 until Magnolia’s unsung heroes like Russell Escoto, Jed Mendoza and Joseph Eribou stepped inside the court and shaved the lead to five, 100-95, in the final minute of the game.

With Perez’s leadership, though, the Beermen held on to deny coach Chito Victolero a win in the grandest stage of the Commissioner’s Cup.

“We shouldn’t underestimate their bench players. They really know how to play. They showed coach Chito that they can play so we needed to be composed and not be relaxed in the end game,” Perez said.



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“That was scary.”

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is on Sunday at the same venue.

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