Every week, ESPN5.com rates the five best rookies of the 2019 PBA season. Here is Chuck Araneta's list for the period covering January 21-27, 2019.
1. CJ Perez, Columbian Dyip (week's averages: 12.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 5.0 apg, 2.3 spg in 3 games)
It was a busy week for number one pick CJ Perez who led the Dyip in three games in five days. In this kind of gruelling stretch, Perez's relentless energy came in handy. Though he struggled from the field, Perez still finished with sterling averages on both ends of the floor.
His offense may still be a work in progress, but it's undeniable the instincts he has for basketball even at the PBA level. One issue that Perez has to deal with is the number of fouls committed in the game. In the first quarter of the Dyip's matches against the Phoenix Fuel Masters and NLEX Road Warriors, Perez immediately got in foul trouble in the first quarter and was forced to watch his teams play catch-up from the bench. He's such a game changer, and he needs to be on the floor because the Dyip are so dangerous with him in the lineup.
2. Jeepy Faundo, Columbian Dyip (week's averages: 10.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg in 2 games)
Jeepy Faundo picked up a DNP against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, but he was unleashed by the Dyip in the win against the NorthPort Batang Pier. Getting the start, the former UST Growling Tiger had 15 points and 7 rebounds, helping Columbian pick up the impressive victory.
He's a bouncing ball of energy, fighting through boxouts, seals and walls of opponents to jump for any type of rebound. Though his offensive game is limited, he makes himself a target with how hard he cuts to the rim or gobbles up offensive rebounds. He's so much fun to watch.
3. Robert Bolick, NorthPort Batang Pier (week's averages: 3 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals in 1 game)
What you have to appreciate about Robert Bolick is that he continues to find ways to contribute despite struggling from the field. Since his historic debut game, Bolick has shot 29% from the field, including a 1/7 performance in the loss to the Batang Pier.
But Bolick has continued to be effective for the Batang Pier with averages of four rebounds and three assists per contest. Though he's still learning how to play alongside Stanley Pringle, his humble attitude should ensure that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
4. JP Calvo, Columbian Dyip (week's averages: 12.3 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 apg, 1 spg in 3 games)
With the unfortunate conference-ending injury to Jerramy King, the Dyip needed someone in their backcourt rotation to step up in his absence. While Rashawn McCarthy has done the heavy lifting, rookie JP Calvo has also accepted the challenge.
In 3 games this past week, Calvo has shown a knack for getting to the rim despite his small stature. And while the supporting stats aren't there yet, the Dyip need someone with his skillset to breakdown defenses and allow their pogo sticks Jackson Corpuz and Jeepy Faundo to crash the boards for second chance points. The rest of Calvo's game will come in due time. This is definitely an encouraging sign.
5. Javee Mocon, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (week's averages: 3 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists in 1 game)
Besides Perez and Bolick, one rookie who has looked PBA-ready and comfortable in his own skin is Rain or Shine's Javee Mocon. Though his numbers don't pop out at you, he has been instrumental in every contest, helping the Elasto Painters stay undefeated with a big win on the road against Barangay Ginebra. In two games, Mocon has averaged 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds in 21 minutes of action despite being part of a crowded Rain or Shine frontcourt. We'll see if Mocon can sustain his solid play as Rain or Shine gears up for a busy slate with 3 games this week.