KENT Salado hit a career milestone when he scored a career-high 15 points on Thursday in NorthPort’s loss to Phoenix Super LPG in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
It wasn’t exactly a night to remember for Salado – his team lost, 108-97. Still, the best offensive output of his PBA career was a momentous occasion, considering he reached double digits ever in a career that included a stay at Barangay Ginebra.
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His previous high, according to PBA statistics head Fidel Mangonon, was a pair of seven-point outings against NorthPort and Magnolia in last season’s Governors’ Cup when he was still playing for Ginebra.
“Sobrang happy pero medyo parang hati. Sad kasi hindi namin nakuha ‘yung panalo. Pero ginawa namin ‘yung best namin. Sayang ‘yung game,” said the former Arellano standout.
Drafted 22nd overall in the 2019 draft, Salado spent most of his PBA career on the bench in a loaded Barangay Ginebra backcourt. Salado has since been traded to NorthPort as part of the Jamie Malonzo trade.
Salado said playing time never was an issue for him, knowing his role in a star-studded Gin Kings line-up.
“Happy ako na nabibigyan ako ng kahit konting minuto ni Boss Bonnie [Tan],” said Salado.
“Alam mo naman sa Ginebra, hindi naman big deal sa akin ‘yung nasa bench ako sa Ginebra kasi sino ba kapalitan ko doon. Sila Kuya LA [Tenorio], Stanley [Pringle], Scottie [Thompson], kilala naman natin lahat ‘yun.
"Hindi naman big deal sa akin na hindi ako nagagamit. Bonus na sa akin ‘yun na nabibigyan ako ng oras.”
At NorthPort, Salado’s minutes haven’t exactly increased dramatically as his 17 minutes on the floor on Thursday were his most in a Batang Pier uniform.
This conference, Salado was never fielded in their previous game against NLEX and only played three and 11 minutes, respectively, in the first two games.
Once given a break by Tan, Salado said his focus was defense with NorthPort trailing by as many as 27 points in the contest.
“Bonus na lang ‘yung naka-score ako. Unang-una talaga, depensa talaga ‘yung gusto ko magawa,” said the 5-foot-9 Salado.
His mindset remains the same at NorthPort, even after his career game.
“Alam naman natin na loaded din kami sa backcourt. May naunang guards sa amin," the 28-year old said. "‘Yun lang ‘yung unang mindset ko na kailangan kong dumepensa kung sino man matapat sa akin."