Former Gilas forward Marc Pingris has only seen CJ Perez in action for a few months, but the top PBA rookie has already impressed the veteran Magnolia forward.
"I guarantee 100 percent that he'll emerge as one of the big names in the PBA in the future," Pingris said in an interview with ESPN5.
The 6-foot-5 Pingris has been following Gilas' buildup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, particularly the national squad's recent pocket tournament, the Torneo de Malaga in Spain where they placed third out of four countries.
Perez, the Columbian' Dyip's top pick in the 2018 PBA Draft, scored seven points in Gilas' 102-82 win over Congo during their friendly match, before finishing with 11 against Ivory Coast.
"He's (Perez) getting exposed at Gilas so he'll only get better," Pingris said. "I'm excited for him because in the future, he'll be one of our top bets in Gilas."
Columbian coach John Cardel believes his team will benefit from Perez's improved play once he's done for Gilas.
"CJ will surely be a big help for Gilas while at the same time, he's going to learn a lot from his teammates there, plus the experience he will gain," Cardel said.
"When we were in Batangas, [Gilas] Coach Yeng [Guiao] and I had a talk and he told me about getting CJ Perez. He was telling me that he's already part of the future of Gilas," he added.
Perez averaged 22.73 points, 7.09 rebounds and 3.91 assists in the PBA Commissioner's Cup and earned an invitation to the national team.
Cardel knows that Perez's improvement will also have an effect on the rest of his team, which is still looking for a return trip to the playoffs since its only appearance in the 2016 Governors' Cup.
Thus far, the Dyip have only won seven games in the first two conferences under Cardel.