Columbian coach sets sights on CJ Perez as top pick

CJ Perez of Zark's-LPU faces the Wangs-Letran defense. PBA Media Bureau

After finishing the 2018 PBA season with just six wins, the Columbian Dyip will own the top overall pick in the Rookie Draft on December 16.

Columbian coach John Cardel has his set sights on Lyceum star CJ Perez.

"CJ is more like an Abueva, an energy guy who can play the 2 or 3 position. So if I were to choose, I'll pick CJ," Cardel told ESPN5 on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Perez recently submitted his rookie application at the PBA office, just a few days after leading Lyceum to a Finals berth in the NCAA men's basketball tournament for another crack at defending champion San Beda.

Perez, who is averaging 18.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Pirates in Season 94, is among the seven Filipino-foreigners who applied for the Draft. The others include Matthew Salem, Carlos Isit, Paul Varilla, Robbie Manalang, Trevis Jackson, and John Ragasa. Their documents and eligibility will still be subject for review, with the final list of those who qualified to be released on December 3.

Cardel insists the top pick is far from a settled decision and San Beda guard Robert Bolick is also under consideration.

The sweet-shooting Bolick is looking to end his collegiate career by leading the Red Lions to a third straight NCAA seniors basketball crown.

"Bolick is a pure point guard, can defend, can score and has a very high basketball IQ," Cardel said.

Cardel and his staff will meet with the team's top officials by November 9 to evaluate the Dyip's season and plan the next steps.

The official list of rookie applicants will be released on December 14. The Draft Combine, where aspirants can showcase their skills, will be on December 12 and 13.

ESPN5's JC Ansis contributed to this report.