After five long years donning the Lyceum of the Philippines University colors, team captain Enoch Valdez bids goodbye to the Lyceum community as he prepares to make the transition into the pros.
Unfortunately for Valdez, his departure is bittersweet as it comes in the midst of the Pirates’ loss of the twice-to-beat advantage in the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament after bowing down to San Beda University in back-to-back games.
Valdez played admirably in the two matches against San Beda as he led the Pirates in scoring both times, notching a near double-double of 14 points and nine boards in their 68-89 blowout loss in game one and following up with a massive 28-point performance in the do-or-die game two.
The 6-foot-2 wing out of Mangatarem, Pangasinan, was also locked in on the defensive end, especially in the second game.
After San Beda’s star point guard Jacob Cortez dropped 28 points on their heads in game one, Valdez took it upon himself to make sure he never got going in the second matchup.
Valdez held Cortez to just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field, to go along with his game-high 28 points, but his efforts on both ends fell short of the win.
“Diba binox-and-one ko na? Ano yung score ni Jacob, seven?
“Ini-stop ko na siya, biro mo 28 points tapos babantayan ko pa yung star player ng kalaban p— panalo pa rin? Anong gagawin ko? T———, inom ako mamaya,” quipped Valdez.
“Hindi ako nagsisisi, nagawa ko yung trabaho ko, dinepensahan yung star player. Nagawa ko yung part kong naka-score ako ng 28. Wala akong regret pare. Binigay ko talagang lahat. Tingnan mo yung stats ni Jacob from 28 points to seven ang layo diba?” he continued.
If there was one thing for him to feel remorseful about, it was the Pirates’ inability to bring a finals appearance to the Lyceum community that supported them through the ups and downs of their season.
“Para sa akin talaga sana naitawid ko lang kahit finals lang. Pero unang game namin sa MOA hindi talaga ako makatulog, nakakatulog ako 3 a.m. na, tapos sobrang, doon ako talagang nasaktan pero dito na nabigay ko yung best ko okay ako. Pero mas better sana kahit finals lang naitawid lang,” he explained.
With the NCAA season wrapped up for Lyceum, Valdez turned his attention to a possible PBA stint as the 18th overall pick of the PBA Season 48 Draft hopes to sign his contract with the NLEX Road Warriors soon.
Despite the bright future ahead for Valdez, he shared his reservations about leaving the Lyceum community that had his back for so long.
“Siyempre nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila dahil sa five years ko sa Lyceum, parang ayoko umalis eh kasi doon alam ko na safe ako nandiyan sila tinutulungan nila ako kahit anong mangyari, ngayon parang panibagong buhay nanaman. So maraming salamat sa opportunity na binigay sa amin,” he admitted.
Wherever Valdez’s basketball career takes him, he holds his head high, proudly knowing he gave his all for the Lyceum faithful until the very end.