Still in the running to at least break through the playoffs, the Arellano University Chiefs received bad news on Wednesday night, as ace guard Kent Salado was diagnosed with a partial MCL tear on his right knee. The injury means he will miss a month’s worth of action, making him unavailable for the rest of the Chiefs’ campaign in the NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball tournament.
“He’ll miss the whole playoffs, if ever umabot tayo sa Finals, he’s out,” disclosed fifth-year Arellano head coach Jerry Codinera.
With 8:22 left in the Chiefs’ 85-79 win against the San Sebastian Golden Stags last Tuesday, the 5-foot-9 guard crashed to the floor after going for a drive. But as he went down, San Sebastian guard RK Ilagan lost his balance as well, falling on Salado’s right leg.
Salado averaged 19.1 points, 5.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals for the season.
Seeing their leader on the sidelines, the Chiefs played inspired basketball, romping the Perpetual Altas, 62-52, to stay alive in the post-season race.
“Iniisip na lang po namin na i-offer na lang namin yung game na ito kay Salado kasi nga po, malungkot po talaga pag wala si Salado. Parang nanghihina po kami lahat,” said starting point guard Levi dela Cruz, who finished the game with 11 markers
“Mas lalo kaming ginanahan kasi parang, kailangan namin mag-step up lahat ng players, kasi main man namin si Salado na nawala, sobrang laking bagay nun,” added Rence Alcoriza, who scored 16 points and seven rebounds in the win.
With just one game left in their calendar, Codinera is hoping that his team can gut this one out.
“Mahirap, sabi nga nila, nawala ang kunduktor. Puro pasahero na lang ang andoon, mahirap. Walang pamasahe.
“Newfound confidence din yun na they can win without him,” Codinera shared.