MANILA, Philippines – The chance of representing Gilas Pilipinas does not come too often, so CJ Perez is willing to grab every opportunity, even if it means doing double duty for the national team.
"That has always been my mindset – if it's for the country, I will give it my all," the gutsy guard said on Wednesday, February 19.
"I'm not a hero, but whatever I can give, I will give."
Perez will first fly to Indonesia with the national team as they open the Asia Cup Qualifiers with a road game on February 23.
After that, he will continue to train with Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 before they vie for a spot in the Tokyo Games with 19 other countries in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be staged in India starting March 18.
Between those, Perez also has his commitment with his mother team Columbian as the new PBA season kicks off on March 8.
While playing for 3 different teams may be a daunting task, Perez said it is all just a matter of knowing his priorities.
"I just need to focus on whatever is in front of me. If it's 5-on-5 now, then that's where I will focus. If 3x3 is near, then that's where I will focus," Perez said.
"Like they said, we're not robots," he added. "We just need to discipline ourselves so we can overcome our challenges."
Perez admitted he never imagined being in a situation where he has a crack at reaching the Olympics – the most prestigious sporting stage.
"At first, I was just thinking about the PBA but I was able to reach this point. It's a blessing for me," he said.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.