Team Standings as of Aug. 28, 2015
SBC Red Cubs 11 0
MIT Red Robins 9 1
LPU Junior Pirates 7 3
AU Braves 7 3
LSGH Greenies 5 5
EAC Junior Generals 5 6
CSJL Squires 4 7
SSC-R Staglets 3 8
JRU Light Bombers 1 9
UPHSD Junior Altas 0 10
Tenth grader Lee Ian Salazar played the best game of his young playing career in the 91st National Collegiat Athletic Association (NCAA) Junior Basketball Tournament last Aug. 28, Friday at the Arena in San Juan.
The five-foot-nine Salazar shot 27 points in leading the Lyceum Junior Pirates to a 78-49 demolition of the San Sebastian Staglets.
(Lee Ian Salazar(14), tightly guarded by Staglet Shareef Saliddin, passes the ball to McLaude Guadana (16)).
The first time Salazar showed his best was when he knocked in 19 point in stopping the Staglets, 88-82, last Aug. 7 in the first round.
Salazar was with the Staglets three years ago, and his best game this season was his way of showing the Junior Pirates that he’s got what it takes to help the team make it to the Final Four this year.
(LPU coach LA Mumar in a huddle with members of the Junior Pirates).
With their seventh win in 10 games, the Junior Pirates found themselves sharing third place with the Arellano University Braves.
And this gave the Junior Pirates their best performance in four years, and after coming aboard in the league in 2011.
(Members of the SSC Staglets, Patrick Daabay (12), Kobe Canoy (14), Jerico Isidro (13) and John Adams(16) block the path of Mclaude Guadana (with ball) and teammate Generoso Cecilio (17)).
Salazar said he had quite a journey, and as he found his way back into the league that he used to play in.
“Natanggal po ako nung nagbawas sila ng scholarship (San Sebastian),” said Salazar as he looked back.
After that Salazar went to Porac, Pampanga to study in Pulong Santol High School.
A year later in 2014, an open tryouts in LPU was called. The next thing he knew, he joined the tryouts and got accepted.
A year later, Salazar is now one of the Junior Pirates mainstays who are sweating it out in their bid to have a better campaign this year.
As it turned out, Salazar was on fire in their first second round game.
(Mclaude Guadana goes for a jumper, while Donyel Udal (6) moves into position).
He had seven triples, making two of them in the first period.
As Salazar scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes, the Junior Pirates went on to take a 26-9 lead in the first quarter.
(Cecilio (17) dribbles with (10) Makki Santos providing a screen, while Staglets Patrick Daabay (12) and Shareef Saliddin (6) give chase).
In the second period, it was his back-to-back treys towards the end which handed LPU a 24-point, 46-22 spread.
In this game, I took note that Salazar gives his best when the Staglets are their opponents.
(Vincent Cunanan goes for a clutch shot past Canoy (14) and Daabay (12)).
As I looked at the stats sheets, it showed that he averages 8.2 points and 1.4 rebounds.
And so, his performance in this game, I can say, is beyond the charts.
“Parehas na Baste ang kalaban namin nung ako ay nag best game,” remarked Salazar.
So, going into the third period, defense made an effort to limit the Staglets to 11 points.
They took a 28-point spread, thanks to a drive from Vincent Cunanan, who banged in 11 total points.
In the fourth, the Junior Pirates increased their lead to 29, 69-38, off another three-pointer from Salazar.
In the end, the Junior Pirates connected eight of 24 three-pointers, while the Staglets had 3 of 12 reaching their targets.
“Hard work lang lagi. Sabi coach (LA Mumar), gawin ko ang tama. Mag-focus lang sa ginagawa ko,” added Salazar.
So far, Cunanan hit 11 points and eight rebounds, teammates Donyel Udal and Kobe Camacho also took charge under the boards.
Udal had eight points and nine rebounds, and Camacho made seven points and hauled down nine boards.
LPU 78– Salazar 27, Cunanan 11, Santos 9, Udal 8, Cecilio 8, Camacho 7, Guadana 4, Wong 2, Umpad 2, Castaneda 0, Laureno 0, Sabido 0, Glipo 0.
San Sebastian 49—Daabay 20, Arellano 6, Adams 4, Tamparong 3, Pelias 3, Pacis 2, Agbong 2, Jabagat 2, Isidro 2, Canoy 2, Sisa 0, Cuntapay 0, Dantis 0, Zulueta 0.
Quarterscores: 26-9, 46-22, 59-33, 78-49.