AS expected, Lyceum of the Philippines University standout CJ Perez was selected first overall in the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft on Sunday at the Robinsons Place Manila in Ermita.
Touted for his all-around skills set and tremendous motor, 6’1” Perez, 25, was picked first by Columbian Dyip in the annual draft and is expected to give a boost to the Dyip’s cause as early as his first year.
Selected second was Bobby Ray Parks, who went to the Blackwater Elite, followed by Robert Bolick at third to the Northport Batang Pier.
Going at fourth to the NLEX Road Warriors was University of the Philippines’ Paul Desiderio and fifth was Filipino-foreigner Trevis Jackson to the Meralco Bolts.
Rounding out the first round were Javee Mocon (6th) to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, Abu Tratter (7th) to NLEX, JayJay Alejandro (8th) to Rain or Shine, Jesper Ayaay (9th) to the Alaska Aces, Michael Calisaan (10th) to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok, JP Calvo (11th) to Columbian, and Jorey Napoles (12th) to the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters.
Mr. Perez was the National Collegiate Athletic Association most valuable player in Season 93.
He helped the Pirates to back-to-back finals appearances, including an unblemished run in the elimination round during his MVP year.
Unfortunately Mr. Perez and Lyceum would not win a title, falling both times to the San Beda Red Lions in 2017 and 2018.
He said he hopes to continue improving as a player now that he is in the PBA and establish a fruitful career.
“This is a a dream come true for me. Looking forward to helping Columbian through my hard work and hustle,” said Mr. Perez after being selected first overall.
Mr. Parks, son of legendary PBA import Bobby, meanwhile, finally made his way to the premier professional basketball league.
A two-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines MVP while with National University, as well as a two-time ASEAN Basketball League local MVP, Mr. Parks is expected to shore up the front court of the Elite.
Mr. Parks was also part of various iterations of Gilas Pilipinas.
Third-pick Bolick, for his part, is considered as one of the top young guards in the land.
He helped San Beda to three straight NCAA titles on his final three years while also part of the 2013 UAAP champ De La Salle University.
He is seen to be the running-mate in the backcourt of current Northport star Stanley Pringle. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo