It was a fitting introduction for the top overall pick in the PBA.
Columbian Dyip rookie CJ Perez needed only two quarters before delivering like a true star as Columbian Dyip pulled the rug from under the mighty San Miguel Beermen, 124-118, in their 2019 Honda PBA Philippine Cup opener on Friday.
Perez struggled to settle down at first and was unable to find his groove, scoring only two points in the first 24 minutes of action.
But the former NCAA MVP came out more relaxed in the second half, and everything just went his way. With an array of shots, he made his presence felt and dropped 24 points, including key baskets down the stretch.
"At first I felt really excited. I just went with the flow in the second half," Perez said in Filipino after the match at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Columbian Dyip head coach Johnedel Cardel was the least surprised.
"He really stepped up in the second half. I kept on telling him to carry his team even though he's a rookie. I know what he can do," Cardel said of the former Lyceum Pirate who led his school to a pair of finals appearances in the NCAA.
What made the victory sweeter was it was at the expense of the five-peat seeking Beermen bannered by reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and new acquisition Terrence Romeo.
"It was a really good feeling. There was pressure going up against them but it was also a good opportunity to show what we can do," Perez said.
The Dyip made the Beermen bleed for points. In fact, Fajardo finished with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting and turned the ball over seven times in close to 35 minutes of play.
"If we will play like this especially on the defensive end, there's a big chance we can really compete against other strong teams," Perez said. "We're slowly getting the hang of playing with each other. As we go along we'll learn more about ourselves."