MANILA, Philippines – There is no doubt that CJ Perez has taken the NCAA by storm when he returned to the league after a three-year absence.
Last seen playing for San Sebastian in Season 89, Perez briefly took his talents to the UAAP by way of Ateneo de Manila University, only to end up back in the NCAA – this time with the Lyceum Pirates.
Perez made up for lost time in a major way, leading the Pirates to an elimination round sweep. The flashes of brilliance that he showed during his time with the Golden Stags were fully realized in Lyceum, where he flourished in the system of his beloved coach, Topex Robinson.
His superb performances have now led not just to team success, but now, also to individual glory. Perez on Friday was formally named the Most Valuable Player of the NCCAA Season 93 men's basketball tournament, moments before he led the Pirates in Game 1 of the Finals against San Beda.
The athletic wingman averaged a league-best 19.3 points on top of 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game while playing under 30 minutes per contest for a Lyceum team that went 18-0 in the eliminations.
He is joined in the Mythical Five by teammate Mike Nzeusseu, who provided the inside muscle that the Pirates needed. The Cameroonian big man normed 11.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for Lyceum.
Joining them is Perpetual Help's Prince Eze, who was actually the MVP front-runner at the end of the first round before the Altas' poor record dealt a blow to his candidacy. The Nigerian normed 15.4 points and 16.4 rebounds, along with 2.6 blocks per game for the Altas.
Also making it to the Mythical Five is Emilio Aguinaldo's Sidney Onwubere, who normed 16.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Generals. Completing the Mythical Five is San Beda standout Javee Mocon, who averaged 12.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game for the defending champions.
Meanwhile, Lyceum's Jaycee Marcelino earned Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 10 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game for the Pirates. Together with twin brother Jayvee, he served as one of the anchors of Lyceum's smothering defense.
Jose Rizal University's Jed Mendoza earned Most Improved Player honors.
Eze headlines this season's Defensive Team, where he was joined by Onwubere, Nzeusseu, Mapua's Christian Bunag, and JRU's Abdul Wahab Abdul Razak.
In the juniors division, it was Mapua's Will Gozum who won MVP honors after leading the defending champions back to the Finals. He was joined by Arellano's Aaron Fermin, teammate Warren Bonifacio, and the La Salle Greenhills pair of Joel Cagulangan, and Inand Fornillos in the Mythical Five.