NCAA basketball

NCAA Player of the Week Enoch Valdez steers Pirates’ ship to Final Four

JR Isaga

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NCAA Player of the Week Enoch Valdez steers Pirates’ ship to Final Four

PLAYER OF THE WEEK. LPU stalwart Enoch Valdez powers through the San Sebastian defense in the NCAA Season 98 men's basketball tournament.

GMA Sports PH

Once a seldom-used part of LPU's last finals-bound team with CJ Perez, veteran guard and Collegiate Press Corps Player of the Week Enoch Valdez now leads the Pirates' return to the Final Four

MANILA, Philippines – The LPU Pirates further legitimized their Cinderella run in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament after notching a pair of tough wins against fellow contenders San Beda and San Sebastian to notch an 11-5 record with two games left in the elimination round.

One player who played a pivotal role in both games was Enoch Valdez.

Although the 6-foot-2 guard only tallied a modest line of 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal versus San Beda, every stat mattered for the Pirates against the Red Lions as they completed an elimination round sweep of the Mendiola crew with a thrilling 81-80 escape.

Valdez followed up in a hard-fought 73-65 victory against the Stags with a massive career-high mark of 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 3 steals to help LPU catch the Final Four bus after title three-peat seeker Letran booked the first playoff ticket.

With his notable performance in the Final Four-clinching match, Valdez was recognized as the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week, an award decided by print and online media regularly covering the league.

His impressive showing bested other huge performances from the week such as the career-high 36-point eruption of San Sebastian’s Rhinwil Yambing, the triple-double of Perpetual’s John Abis, and consistent numbers from fellow Pirate Renzo Navarro, Letran’s King Caralipio, and San Beda’s James Kwekuteye.

One of the lone remaining members of LPU’s finals team under head coach Topex Robinson and superstar CJ Perez, Valdez now wants to step up as the team’s veteran and possibly lead the Pirates back to another shot at winning it all.

“I just really want to enter the Final Four and possibly return to the finals, because the last time I was there with Kuya CJ, I wasn’t being used that much,” he said in Filipino.

“Now, my goal is to reach the finals and be a bigger part of the team on the court.” –

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