UAAP Basketball

We, not me: Tamayo turns emotional for teammates’ drive in huge UP comeback win

JR Isaga
We, not me: Tamayo turns emotional for teammates’ drive in huge UP comeback win

HEART OF A CHAMPION. Former UAAP juniors champion and MVP Carl Tamayo carries UP to the finals in his first seniors season.

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

With UP's season on the line, super rookie Carl Tamayo goes wild in the clutch and let his emotions flow as the Maroons return to the finals for the second time in the last four years

MANILA, Philippines – UP super rookie Carl Tamayo had the game of his young life on Friday, May 6, as the Fighting Maroons rose back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun La Salle out of the last UAAP Season 84 finals berth with a 78-74 escape act.

Saddled with a frigid 2-of-13 shooting clip and four fouls after three lackluster quarters, the young Gilas Pilipinas prospect came out of nowhere, and dropped 12 of his 19 points in yet another cardiac final frame to cap off a mind-blowing 22-4 rally.

With the season on the line, Tamayo was a man on a mission, dropping layups left and right, and sinking his free throws after struggling from the line all season long.

When the dust settled, and UP fans were singing their school hymn in triumphant unison, the reality of what just happened likely came crashing down as Tamayo clearly fought back tears while singing along.

But for the 21-year-old sensation, his emotions weren’t at all due to his heroic stand, but rather for his teammates who stood along with him as the Maroons made their daring comeback from what was in all likelihood a lost cause.

“It’s not that I carried the load. I was just happy for my teammates. No one really gave up,” he said in Filipino after the nail-biting win. “The win is not about me. I just happened to have a good game, but I was more happy for my teammates who didn’t give up until the end.”

Aside from Tamayo, the Maroons were buoyed by the usual dominance of foreign student-athlete Malick Diouf, and the emergence of fellow rookie Harold Alarcon. All in all, UP outscored La Salle, 27-10, in the pivotal fourth-quarter charge.

“My game is a given, but when you see your teammates fighting, that’s the really heavy part,” Tamayo continued. “That’s what lifts you up, and really makes you cry, seeing your teammates never giving up no matter what the situation is. No one gave up.”

The young Maroons have a lot more years ahead of them, and no matter what happens moving forward in their finals series against three-peat champion Ateneo, Tamayo knows his teammates will always have his back, as he will always have theirs. –