Rookie Enoch Valdez's 30-17 game leads Squires past Junior Pirates in NCAA juniors basketball
Letran rookie Enoch Lopez scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 17 boards. Dante Peralta

LETRAN rookie Enoch Valdez put on a show to lead the Squires past the Lyceum Junior Pirates, 93-87, in the NCAA Season 93 juniors basketball tournament on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

Valdez scored a career-high 30 points and 17 rebounds to help the Squires improve with a 5-4 win-loss card. But the super-rookie deflected credit to his teammates for his breakout performance.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga tumutulong sa akin sa team. Hindi ko naman magagawa iyon (makascore ng 30 points) kung hindi sa mga teammates ko na laging nagsasabi sa akin kung ano gagawin ko, lalo na sa depensa. Iyong opensa naman kusang dumadating ‘yan kaya ginagawa ko lang ‘yung trabaho ko,” the former Lyceum University-Dagupan player said.

“Ang sabi ni coach sa akin ‘bawi ka’ kasi hindi pa ako nakakalaro against Lyceum. Sabi niya ‘gawin mo lang trabaho mo, rebound ka lang at dumepensa’ kaya ginagawa ko naman. Iyong mga points ko naman galing lang sa mga putback-putback, iyong mga tira ng kasama ko kinukuha ko lang,” Valdez added. 

After ending the first half with only a three-point lead, 48-45, Letran caught fire in the third quarter to extend the gap to 11, 68-57.

The Junior Pirates rallied in the fourth, but the Squires secured the win thanks to Valdez and Kobe Monje’s  clutch free throws.

McLaude Guadana led Lyceum with 18 points.

Letran will face the defending champions Malayan Red Robins, now with a 6-1 win-loss record, on August 22 at the same venue.

The scores:

CSJL (93)- Valdez 30, Monje 20, Guarino 9, Tolentino 8, Reyson 7, Aniban 6, Ganapathy 5, Peralta 4, Tamayo 4, Cordero 0, Montes 0, Labrador 0, Fuentes 0, Culanjay 0, Tabajen 0.

LPU (87)- Guadana 18, Barba 15, De Leon 12, Salazar 12, Ruiz 11, Manuel 7, Jungco 4, Cunanan 3, Sandoval 3, Caringal 2, Umpad 0, Ortiz 0.

Quarters: 21-25, 48-45, 68-57, 93-87

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