By WAYLON GALVEZ
FIBA World Cup revelations CJ Perez and Robert Bolick have offered their services to play for Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone in the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country is hosting two months from now.
The two PBA rookies said they are hoping to be included to the national team since neither of them have had the opportunity to be considered in previous SEA Games.
Although the two had stellar collegiate careers, with Bolick winning multiple NCAA championships for San Beda and Perez bagging MVP honors with Lyceum, both had always been passed over.
Their stint in the FIBA World Cup could change all that.
“Kung sakali parehas namin first time ni CJ sa SEA Games. Kasi never pa kami nakapaglaro. Hopefully mapasama kami,” Bolick told the Bulletin yesterday.
“Nakaka-excite yun siyempre bukod sa first time, dito pa gagawin sa atin. Mas maraming kababayan natin ang magtsi-cheer, mas madami ang manonood. So ibang klaseng experience yun,” said Perez in a separate phone interview.
With the 21-time champion coach Cone on board for the SEA Games, it would extra special, both said.
“Sino bang hindi maglalaro for Coach Tim? Siyempre champion coach yan,” said Perez. “Pero ako, kahit na sinong coach maglalaro ako para sa bayan. Napakalaking karangalan para sa akin at sa pamilya ko na paglingkuran ko ang Pilipinas.”
Bolick, who is in a tight race with Perez for PBA Rookie of the Year, has the same sentiment.
“Sa akin yung mga ma-gain ko na mga lessons under coach Tim if mapasama ako. Pero siyempre higit sa lahat is yung opportunity na mapag-silbihan ang bayan. First time namin yung World Cup, kung sakali, first time din namin sa SEA Games,” said Bolick.
Perez and Bolick are part of the initial 24-man pool drawn up for the SEA Games with Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, Poi Erram, Mark Barroca, Roger Pogoy, Jayvee Mocon, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Mo Tautuaa, Raymond Almazan, Matthew Wright, Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle and Chris Ross.
There could be changes though with a new man on the reins coming in.
Also on the pool are collegiate stalwarts Thirdy Ravena and Isaac Go of Ateneo, De La Salle’s Justine Baltazar, UP’s Juan Gomez de Liano, Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras, National U’s Dave Ildefonso and Kai Sotto, who is training in the United States.