Salado repays team’s trust with clutch performance
Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera has constantly reminded his team that no matter what the situation is, the players should always keep the trust within the team.
But that was tested on Tuesday when the Chiefs faced a tough challenge against Jose Rizal University.
With Arellano down seven, 51-44, in the fourth period, Kent Salado pulled his side from the rubble and almost singlehandedly delivered the win for the Chiefs.
However, his heroics almost went to waste as he botched two potential game-clinching freebies with 9.8 seconds left in regulation, leaving the window open for the Heavy Bombers as Jed Mendoza drilled the game-tying trey at 62-all to force overtime.
“I really regret that because I wasn’t able to shoot it,” Salado said in Filipino.
The Cagayan de Oro native’s woes continued in the extra period when he was whistled for a foul on Mendoza with 4.0 seconds remaining and the game tied at 71, a call which he really argued with.
“For me, there wasn’t any foul because I knew Lervin (Flores) was there to block his shot,” he said.
Seething to atone for his miscues, Salado took responsibility in the next few seconds, taking the ball and going straight to the rack against the defense of the 6-foot-8 Abdel Poutouochi as he banked the game-winner to lead Arellano to a 73-72 victory over JRU.
“I really wanted it. Everyone said that the ball will be on my hands no matter what happens,” he said.
“We told the team that we have to go to Salado,” said Codiñera of his final play. “It’s our trust in him. We were able to execute and he made that crucial basket for us.”
Salado scattered 25 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and two steals.
“I can say that I was just lucky to have made that shot because there wasn’t any time left. I really had to shoot it and I was challenged by the import, and I’m just really lucky to make it,” he said.
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