Despite the accolades, Perez firmly on the ground

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    CHRISTIAN Jaymar Perez has been on a whirlwind ride right in his first year in the PBA.
    Columbian’s certified star, widely known as CJ, is keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground, however.

    “Sa akin naman, sa mga nangyayaring ganoon kailangan ko lang maging humble,” Perez told Malaya-Business Insight.

    “Alam naman natin na biglaan ang mga nangyayari, masyadong mabilis,” he added.

    “Pero naturuan naman ako ng maayos ng mga coaches ko, pati na ‘yung mga previous, na stay humble. Siyempre, tinuruan ako kung paano maging mababang tao.”

    That is a task enough in itself considering what Perez went through the past season.

    A scoring title in the PBA, membership in a FIBA World Cup squad, a gold-winning stint in the last SEA Games 3×3 event, and an impending Rookie of the Year award are the latest feathers added to the former Lyceum of the Philippines University star’s cap.

    Because of his high-flying ways that seem to rub off on his teammates, the Dyip have now been included in discussions concerning the PBA’s most exciting squads.

    There are also accompanying rumors of trade feelers from other squads, something that Bobby Rosales, Columbian’s representative to the PBA Board, was quick to thumb down.

    “We’ll never trade CJ,” Rosales stressed. “He is a vital part of our bid to become more competitive at iyang mga (trade offers) na iyan walang kapupuntahan.”

    Columbian coach Johnedel Cardel sure hopes so.

    “Team play ang motto namin pero undeniable na lynchpin talaga si CJ,” said Cardel. “With the addition of our rookies at saka ilang veterans, medyo lumalim bench namin ngayon.”

    Cardel is foremost among those who quelled speculations that Perez’s head would swell due to the good things coming his way.

    “Si CJ bago ko kunin iyan inalam ko muna background. Galing sa ibaba,” related Cardel.

    “Nakikita ko sa kanya, kung ano siya dati ganoon pa rin ugali niya ngayon. Siguro, guide lang lagi. Kaya lagi kong sinasabi sa kanya, kailangan pa rin niya tulong ng mga teammates niya. Iyon din sinasabi niya, na kundi naman dahil sa kanila di naman ako magiging CJ Perez.

    “Mabait naman.”

    While thankful for the blessings that came his way Perez was also quick to downplay them.

    “Mga nangyayaring ganyan, bonus na lang,” he said. “Malayo din naman ‘yung pinaghirapan natin. Bonus na lang siguro ng hard work.”