2019 PBA team preview: Can CJ Perez help turn Columbian's fortunes around?

ESPN5.com previews the 12 PBA teams ahead of their first games in the 2019 Philippine Cup, the kickoff conference of the new PBA season.

2017-2018 Summary

  • Philippine Cup: 1-10 (12th) -- missed playoffs

  • Commissioner's Cup: 4-7 (9th) -- missed playoffs

  • Governors' Cup: 1-10 (12th) -- missed playoffs


  • CJ Perez, JP Calvo, Keith Agovida, Jeepy Faundo, and Cyrus Tabi (IR)


  • Dylan Ababou, Ronald Tubid, Carlo Lastimosa, and Dan Sarah

Rest of the Roster

  • Reden Celda, Jackson Corpuz, Roider Cabrera, Jay-R Reyes, Jon Jon Gabriel, Russel Escoto, Andreas Cahilig, Rashawn McCarthy, Glen Khobuntin, Eric Camson, and Jerramy King

Biggest things to look out for

Stars have refused to align for Columbian Dyip since the franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 2014 along with Blackwater.

Another playoff appearance remains far from reach for Columbian, which was the center of controversy before last season got underway after trading away the No. 1 overall pick the San Miguel Beermen used to tab Christian Standhardinger.

That could have been the team's best chance to prop up its sagging fortunes in the first play-for-pay league in Asia. But they opted to take the "unconventional path."

The franchise also underwent coaching changes twice. Chris Gavina, the only coach who led the team to a playoff appearance in the Governors' Cup in 2016, stepped down and was replaced by Ricky Dandan. Not long after, Dandan resigned during the final stretch of the Commissioner's Cup. Johnedel Cardel has been at the helm since then.

But it's not all misery for the Dyip. The past season saw young guns like Rashawn McCarthy and Jerramy King emerge as reliable cogs for the team going forward.

This year, they didn't waste the No. 1 pick and selected a bona fide star in CJ Perez and plucked out a reliable point guard in JP Calvo.

How these rookies will mesh with the core that was able to grab four wins in the Commissioner's Cup while showing grit in the season-ending conference remains uncertain. But the future looks bright for the embattled team.


Over the years, the team has been searching for a go-to guy that will carry the team onto his shoulders. That may have been over as the Dyip now have Perez on board.

Perez is expected to make an outright impact. He will bring in the winning mentality as well as the grit he has shown while playing for Lyceum in the NCAA. He won an MVP award in college and in the PBA D-League Aspirant's Cup.

He led the Pirates to the finals twice but lost to Robert Bolick and the San Beda Red Lions both times. Nonetheless, his experience will go a long way as the Dyip look to rise from the ashes of a forgettable season where they won only six in 33 games overall.

Aside from him, there are two more names the Dyip can rely on this season.

During the Philippine Cup, McCarthy averaged close to 20 points after being part of the package shipped to the Dyip for the Standhardinger pick. He has continued his fine play in the succeeding conferences and was gifted a two-year extension at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, former practice play King led the team in scoring in some stretches during the Commissioner's Cup and Governors' Cup.

With Perez joining the fray, another playoff appearance doesn't seem farfetched for the Columbian Dyip.