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CJ on fire as Beermen roll

MANILA, Philippines — On the heels of his PBA All Star Game explosion, an on-target CJ Perez delivered his most incendiary performance in the Philippine Cup to date.

And with Perez as lead gunner with 32 big points, the defending champion San Miguel Beer trounced Phoenix Super LPG at the resumption of play, 116-102, for a league-leading 3-0 card on Easter Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Perez’ scoring outburst came a week after sizzling with 39 markers in the star-studded game in Bacolod where he rediscovered his shooting touch after accounting for only seven and nine in SMB’s first two wins of the conference.

“CJ is a great player. He knows what to do. And now he realized that he’s a shooter after the All-Star Game. I guess the four-point shots there gave him confidence to shoot threes now,” said Beermen coach Jorge Gallent of Perez.

In the ASG, Perez sank seven of his 11 attempts from the “four-point arc” (from 30 feet) to help Team Mark play Team Japeth to a tie, 140-140. Picking up from there, the Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference made four of eight tries from the three-point line back in the All-Filipino hostilities.

“Actually dumagdag talaga sa kumpyansa ko yung All Stars,” said Perez. “Noong first two games, medyo nag-hesitate ako (to take threes) talaga kasi mas nakukuha ko ang rhythm ko pag umaatake ako. Pero sabi ni coach just be confident na itira yung threes. Ngayon pumasok siya. Hopefully hanggang sa mga susunod, pumasok pa rin.”

Later, Barangay Ginebra outplayed “Manila Clasico” rival Magnolia, 87-77, to improve to 3-1. The Hotshots dropped to 1-1.

The Gin Kings unleashed a 19-5 bomb in an eight-minute period bridging the third and the fourth periods to seize control and clear the way for a big bounceback to their 73-91 setback to Meralco last time.