June 25, 2024

‘Talagang mintis siya’: CJ Perez refuses to make excuses after crucial miss in SMB's Game 3 PBA Finals loss

‘Talagang mintis siya’: CJ Perez refuses to make excuses after crucial miss in SMB
There was no magic in the clutch this time for CJ Perez. Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

CJ Perez refused to make any excuses after missing crucial shots in San Miguel’s 93-89 loss to Meralco in Game 3 of the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup Finals.

Inside the final 4:10 of the highly-charged match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Perez went 1/5 on free throws, including a trip to the foul line with 1:34 left that could have given the Beermen the lead. He missed both, preserving an 88-87 Meralco advantage.

But his biggest blunder came in the waning seconds. After escaping past Cliff Hodge’s leech-like defense with an up-and-under move, the Predator couldn’t convert from point-blank range.

Had he made it, the scores would have been tied at 91-all. Instead, Chris Newsome canned a pair of pressure-packed free throws in the ensuing play to seal the win and the 2-1 series lead for the Bolts.

[Related: PBA: Chris Newsome comes up clutch as Meralco outlasts San Miguel to seize 2-1 Finals lead]

“Talagang nabitin. Talagang mintis sya. Walang excuse dun,” said Perez, referring to his last shot.

After a 34-point outing in Game 2, Perez wound up with 18 points on 6/19 shooting from the field in Game 3. He later stated the obvious.

“Madaming (defensive) schemes na ginagwa (Meralco). Pero it’s just me, talagang nakapag ready silang maayos. Hindi ako nakapag adjust,” said the SMB slasher, who also had five rebounds, two assists, and four steals.

After a grueling first three games in the Last Dance, Perez said the two days between Games 3 and 4 will be crucial for the wounded Beermen.

“Malaking bagay samin yung dalawang araw na pahinga, lalo na kay June Mar. hirap na hirap si kuya june at kailangan nya mag pahinga,” he said, referring to the seven-time MVP who was limited to just 12 points on 2/5 field goals and committed game-high seven turnovers. 

While he botched his final shot in Game 3, he vowed to deliver anew in Game 4 on Wednesday, June 12, in hopes of not falling to a 3-1 pit.

[Related: PBA Finals schedule: Tensions rise as Philippine Cup title showdown between Meralco and SMB heat up]

“Nag-miss sya (final shot) pero sa susunod papasok na yun,” he said.

The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Big Dome.