PBA All-Star

Perez says Bolick just as deserving for PBA All-Star Game MVP award

Delfin Dioquino

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Perez says Bolick just as deserving for PBA All-Star Game MVP award

DRIVE. CJ Perez in action for Team Mark in the 2024 PBA All-Star Game.

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CJ Perez says Robert Bolick deserves the MVP award just as much as the two talented guards take turns in helping Team Mark salvage a thrilling tie with Team Japeth in the PBA All-Star Game

BACOLOD, Philippines – CJ Perez could have easily won his first PBA All-Star Game MVP plum, but he does not mind losing the award to Robert Bolick.

Perez said Bolick deserved the honor just as much as the two talented guards took turns in helping Team Mark salvage a thrilling 140-140 tie with Team Japeth in the All-Star Game at the University of St. La Salle gym here on Sunday, March 24.

Bolick emerged the surprise MVP for Team Mark thanks to his late heroics, which saw him end the game on a personal 9-0 run, including the spectacular five-point play that forged just the third draw in All-Star Game history.

“This is the All-Star Game, anybody can win MVP,” said Perez. “And Berto deserved it. If he did not make it, it would not end in a tie.” 

Perez dominated with a game-high 39 points as he almost singlehandedly brought Team Mark back into the game after Team Japeth raced to a 46-20 first-quarter lead by taking advantage of the four-point line.

For the second straight year, the PBA incorporated a four-point line and made dunks worth 3 points for the All-Star Game. 

Perez flaunted his range, draining 6 four-pointers and erupting for 28 points in the second period alone to clinch the record for most points in a quarter since the All-Star Game got institutionalized in 1989.

By the time the first half ended, Team Mark already trimmed its deficit to 79-68, paving the way for a nip-and-tuck battle in the last two periods.

While Perez thrived, Bolick struggled early, scoring just 3 points through the first three quarters.

But Bolick found his groove just in the nick of time as he scattered 10 points in the final frame, including back-to-back four-pointers inside the final minute and the game-tying foul shot that completed his five-point play, sending the fans in attendance to a frenzy.

For Perez, he is just glad that both teams put on an enthralling show that the people of Bacolod deserved. 

“Our competitive nature showed. It would be embarrassing if we were blown out. It would no longer be fun,” said Perez. 

Bolick shared the All-Star Game plum with Japeth Aguilar, who won the award for the second time. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.