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MANILA, Philippines – Carl Tamayo is set to plot his next steps in his professional basketball career after parting ways with Japan B. League powerhouse Ryukyu Golden Kings on Thursday, January 18.
Tamayo, who is averaging 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes this season, personally sought his release as he seeks better contract deals.
The former UP Fighting Maroons star is set to return to the Philippines next week to weigh possible offers from other Japan B. League teams.
“The decision aims to provide Carl with an opportunity to explore new horizons in the Japan B. League, allowing him to showcase his skills and make a more significant contribution to another team,” his management, Virtual Playground, said in a statement.
“We believe that finding a team where Carl can maximize his potential and make a substantial impact is in his best interest.”
Ryukyu management acknowledged the lack of playing time for Tamayo, calling the exit as mutually beneficial.
“This was a difficult decision but taking into consideration both the current team situation and the lack of sufficient playing time for Carl, both parties mutually agreed that proceeding with a contract termination is best for the team and Carl’s future basketball career,” the team said in its statement.
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Carl for his contribution to the Ryukyu Golden Kings over the past two seasons and we wish him all the best and continued success throughout his future.”
The development came days after Tamayo showed his best stretch while representing the defending B. League champion in the recent All-Star Weekend at their Okinawa Arena home floor.
He netted a team-high 18 points for the Asia All-Stars as he and his fellow continental imports fended off the Japanese Rising Stars, 127-115, last January 13.
Showered with the biggest cheers from the crowd, Tamayo struck the proverbial dagger triple with 31.4 seconds to play.
The former UAAP stalwart also showed the way in a starting role for Ryukyu in the East Asia Super League (EASL) tussle against the New Taipei Kings last January 10, where he tallied a team-high 16 points, as well as 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block.
The visitors lost in Taipei, 67-63, after former NBA guard Jeremy Lin sealed the deal with a three-pointer with 26.6 ticks to go.
“I think my teammates gave me the chance to make those shots since it was my home court and I made them, and I’m happy for it,” Tamayo told Rappler after the All-Star game.
“I just wanted to make shots and show the home crowd that I could score to make them happy too,” he continued.
Tamayo was removed from the Golden Kings’ active roster on Wednesday, January 17, as his team fell 77-75 to the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins.
The 22-year-old still thanked his first pro hoops squad for giving him a shot at the rising league.
“As I bid farewell to the Ryukyu Golden Kings, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every fan who has been with me on this incredible journey. Your unwavering support has meant the world to me,” he said.
“Though my time with the team may be ending, your support will forever be etched in my heart. Thank you for making my time with the Ryukyu Golden Kings truly unforgettable.” — Rappler.com