Winning the biggest achievement of his young career means a lot to CJ Perez, whose splendid play for San Miguel Beer earned him the Best Player of the Conference mention from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup.
“It means a lot to me, especially at this point in my career,” Perez said before officially receiving the honor before Game 4 of the Beermen championship series against the Magnolia Hotshots at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Pérez was declared the best player in the import-laden conference after scoring 1,055 points according to statistics and votes from the media and players. He became a no-brainer after helping the Beermen reach the finals after a late surge.
Christian Standhardinger of Barangay Ginebra came second with 777 points, followed by Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort with 559 points.
The winner of the Best Import trophy was a surprise as Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams defeated finalists Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel Beer and Tyler Bey of Magnolia, and the announcement did not sit well with fans of both teams.
Williams scored 1,017 points to become the first Phoenix import to win the award given to the best foreign player. Bey was second with 908 points, while Boatwright, who came in late and went undefeated in nine games leading the Beermen to the title series, was third with 808.
Williams was second to Boatwright in statistical points, but made up for it by topping the votes of the media, who felt Williams deserved the award for his significant contribution in leading Phoenix, whose home squad didn’t receive much attention in the preseason, to a semifinal. fairy tale.
It was the first time Best Import went to someone who did not reach the PBA Finals since Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
Greatest honor yet
The Best Player award is the biggest for Pérez, who was selected first overall by Terrafirma in 2019, winning the Rookie of the Year award in the process. He also received multiple First Team Mythical honors for both Dyip and Beermen.
Perez overcame a minor slump midway through the eliminations and played a major role in the Beermen entering the Finals with an 11-game winning streak. San Miguel was looking for a 3-1 lead over Magnolia at press time.
Through Game 3 of the Finals, Perez was producing conference averages of 16.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals.
Pérez is seeking a second championship and is considered San Miguel’s most consistent player in the Finals. “I think it’s because of my desire to get another championship, and we have a great chance to win,” Perez said. “I always do my best because of the trust of our coaches even when I have bad games. “I’m just grateful that we’re playing well at this stage of the conference.”