MANILA, Philippines -- Columbian Dyip rookie CJ Perez was still proud of the effort that they showed in a 111-98 loss to the Alaska Aces in their first game of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday evening.
The Dyip led 54-48 at the half, with Perez and import Kyle Barone leading the charge. However, they faltered in the face of Alaska's big run in the third quarter. The Aces outscored them, 34-13, in the pivotal period, and despite Barone's best efforts in the fourth frame, the Dyip never got closer than 9 points the rest of the way.
"Nag-lack kami ng energy at na-outhustle kami noong third," admitted Perez. "Hindi na kami naka-stop noong third, kaya nakalayo na sila."
Barone, a first-time PBA import with previous stints in the ASEAN Basketball League, said the Dyip got away from what worked for them in the first half, and they paid for it.
"They started making shots," he noted.
Still, Perez said they cannot get too down on themselves even with the loss.
"Sobrang proud ako sa team ko," said Perez, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft. "First, second (quarter) maganda. Third, nawala. Pero bumalik kami, nabitin lang."
"Siyempre, first game," he pointed out. "Marami pang games na darating, so marami pang time na maka-bounce back."
Barone, too, expects Columbian to get better as the conference progresses. He pointed out that this was just his first game with the team, and he is still learning how to play with his new teammates.
Still, they showed plenty of potential, particularly in the first half.
"We felt we can compete," said the import. "We just gotta stay consistent throughout the game."
Perez finished the game with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Barone had 30 points -- 17 of them in the fourth quarter -- along with 22 boards in the loss.
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