CJ Perez embracing the grind of playing for 2 national teams

CJ Perez Gilas Pilipinas

CJ Perez during Gilas Pilipinas’ practice for the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. INQUIRER PHOTO/TRISTAN TAMAYO

MANILA, Philippines—PBA players usually have one hard practice a day to hone their craft, some may have two if they’re part of the national team.

CJ Perez has three.

The frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year plum has the tedious task of going to three training a sessions a day when he goes to Columbian’s in the morning, the Gilas 3×3’s in the afternoon, then Gilas Pilipinas’ at night.

“You just have to focus on the task ahead of you and that’s pretty much my mindset,” said Perez in Filipino after Gilas Pilipinas’ practice Thursday at Meralco Gym as they prepare for the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers.

“I go to the 3×3 practice and I focus on that, then I go here in the 5×5 and then I focus on that. I tend to not think too much of the things that aren’t really necessary.”

When Perez, the 2018 top overall pick, was just solely focused on his duties with the Dyip he had all the time in the afternoon to take care of his baby girl Tanisha but with the national teams calling him up his days are spent on the basketball court.

Perez said that it’s been hard not to be there for his daughter but his wife understands what his job entails and that what he’s been doing is not just for him but also for the country.

“I really had to sacrifice because before I get to spend time with my baby but I’m doing this for my country,” said Perez. “We all know that when you get that call-up you have to give it your all.”

“My wife understands and she said that it’s okay because once I get some free time then I devote it all to my family.”

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