CJ PEREZ is now officially a San Miguel Beerman, sure to add more punch to an already loaded roster.
The PBA yesterday approved the trade between Terrafirma and SMB after the Beermen threw in an additional first round pick as part of the package for the league’s two-time scoring champion.
Commissioner Willie Marcial put his stamp of approval on the decision made by the PBA’s trade committee.
“Sinusuportahan ko ang desisyon ng (trade) committee,” was all Marcial said when contacted.
The five-man panel tasked with analyzing and evaluating each trade proposal did not come to its decision easily, according to a league insider.
The source claimed the group initially balked at the original Beermen proposal that had bench players Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Russell Escoto and Gelo Alolino, plus SMB’s first-round pick in March’s Season 46 Rookie Draft, being dangled for Perez.
Only when SMB added its 2022 first round pick did the panel finally give its consent to the trade that drew outcry from league fans when reports of the deal came out last Friday.
The arrival of the former Lyceum U star means the Beermen, whose reign as Philippine Cup champion was cut short at five last year, should be favorites anew to regain the crown when the conference kicks off the season in April.
Perez, the 2019 Rookie of the Year and First Mythical Team member, is sure to add more stock to a formidable lineup led by six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo as well as Arwind Santos, Mo Tautuaa, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and Terrence Romeo.
Perez, however, will not join the Beermen immediately as he is still in Calamba with the Gilas Pilipinas pool training at the Inspire Sports Academy bubble in preparation for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
The return of Escoto to the same team that drafted him in 2016 and Ganuelas-Rosser’s arrival means Terrafirma now has more size. But coach Johnedel Cardel hopes to firm up his lineup with the top pick overall and what should have been SMB’s No. 8 choice in the coming draft.