SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–CJ Perez may have lost again, but he earned praises from his “father” Topex Robinson. 

Perez fired a team-high 32 points that went with nine rebounds and five assists but Terrafirma remained winless in six games after absorbing a 116-94 beating to Robinson’s Phoenix on Tuesday at the AUF Arena. 

The last season’s Rookie of the Year and “Scoring Champion” poured his heart out in leading the Dyip who were still within four points at the break only to whittle away in the closing half. 

“He’s a game-changer. Sky’s the limit for him,” Robinson said of Perez, who built their “father-and-son” relationship in San Sebastian and Lyceum. 

“I’m just happy to see him evolve into a player that he is now,” added the 45-year-old mentor. 

Perez played under Robinson’s watch in San Sebastian in the NCAA before the two parted ways in 2014, with the former transferring to Ateneo and the latter moving to Lyceum. 

They met again when Perez left the Katipunan-based Eagles due to academic deficiencies in 2016 and was welcomed with open arms by Robinson in Intramuros.  

With Robinson steering the ship and Perez as the main man, the Pirates cruised to two finals appearances in the NCAA, only to get swept twice by the Robert Bolick-led San Beda. 

The versatile guard also copped the NCAA Season 93 MVP award in his first year in Lyceum.  

Now that they are not in the same team again, Robinson only wishes to see the 26-year-old Perez continue unlocking his vast potential. 

“I just told him after the game. ‘You just have to keep on grinding.’ He has so much potential.” 

Source: Manila Bulletin (