CJ Perez is this year’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft at the Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila yesterday.
And Columbian Dyip is surely very happy to get him.
A year after passing up on the No.1 pick Christian Standhardinger and drawing flaks for trading him to San Miguel Beer, Columbian made sure the best player -- Perez -- in this year’s batch will land on their line-up.
“Dream come true ito para sa akin,” said Perez, who led Lyceum of the Philippines to two runner-up finishes behind San Beda College in the NCAA.
“With Columbian, I assure them that I will give my best effort and hustle every game. Yun ang gusto kong ma-contribute sa kanila (Columbian),” said Perez.
“Kahit rookie pa lang, gusto ko na marami akong maitulong at ma-improve pa lalo yun team,” added the 25-year-old Perez.
Perez, who also briefly saw action for San Sebastian College in the NCAA and Ateneo in the UAAP, is expected to form a young core with Jerramy King and Rashawn McCarthy for the Dyip, who are hoping to get out of the cellar since joining the PBA in 2014.
There were no surprises in the other top picks.
Two-time UAAP MVP Ray Parks of the National University Bulldogs, was taken as No. 2 pick overall by Blackwater Elite.
Although still considered as a rookie, Parks is not wanting in experience having played in the NBA Summer League, NBA G League and the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), where he won back-to-back Most Valuable Players (MVP) awards.
The 25-year-old Parks also played for the Gilas Pilipinas in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
Parks, however, was not around .
The son of seven-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Parks was with the Alab Pilipinas team, which is scheduled to face the CLS Knights in the ABL in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Parks was represented during the draft by his long-time manager-friend, Charlie Dy.
NorthPort Batang Pier also emerged a winner after getting its wish to get former San Beda Red Lion Robert Bolick as the No. 3 pick overall.
Bolick, a vital vog in the Red Lions’ back-to-back title romps in the NCAA, is expected to play alongside superstar point guard Stanley Pringle in the backcourt of veteran coach Pido Jarencio’s team.
NLEX selected University of the Philippines hero Paul Desiderio as No. 4 pick.
The fourth pick for NLEX came from a recent trade with Phoenix where the Road Warriors gave away Alex Mallari and Dave Marcelo in return.
Meralco took Fil-Am Trevis Jackson at No. 5 while Rain or Shine used the sixth pick overall on San Beda hero Javee Mocon.
NLEX pulled off another surprise at No. 7 by getting big man Abu Tratter.
Rain or Shine took Jay Alejandro at No. 8.
The surprises continued as Alaska tabbed Lyceum guard Jasper Ayaay at No. 9 and Magnolia got San Sebastian Michael Calisaan at No. 10.
Letran guard JP Calvo, the MVP of the PBA Draft Combine, was picked at No. 11 overall by Columbian while Jorey Napoles was another surprise first-rounder when he was picked at No. 12 by Phoenix. PBA commissioner Willie Marcial led the draft ceremony.