WHILE several of their teammates continued to fire blanks as if they left their shooting touch at the airport, rookies CJ Perez and Robert Bolick are making their presence felt for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup in Foshan City, China.
There was no surprise there as far as head coach Yeng Guiao is concerned.
“I’m not really surprised. I had some inkling from what I’ve seen in Spain, and from what I’ve seen in our practices. So CJ was one of the few bright spots, actually, in this campaign,” said Guiao of Perez.
Like Perez, the top overall pick in the 2018 PBA Draft now playing for Columbian Dyip, Bolick also received glowing words from their fiery coach.
“He showed a lot of tenacity, determination and maturity in this game,” Guiao said of the former San Beda standout now carrying the colors of Northport in the pro league.
“Sobrang proud ako kasi nga, for me sila ‘yung maglalaro for the next generation. So nakikita ko na, ‘pag ganyan ‘yung nilalaro nila natutuwa ako,” Guiao told Filipino sportswriters after the Gilas-Serbia game on Monday night.
“Sana mag-improve pa sila talaga,” the coach added.
Perez was the hottest Filipino on the floor on a forgettable evening as Gilas absorbed a horrible 67-126 beating from the Serbs and saw its bid to advance to the second round evaporating in the hazy air of this city.
The six-foot-one Perez finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including a completed steal off a pass by NBA star Nikola Jokic’s inbound pass in the second quarter.
Similarly contributing something to the cause was Bolick, who clustered a five-point run in the second period to keep the Serbs from pulling away, something that didn’t escape the eyes of the coaching staff. He wound up with seven points.