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MANILA, Philippines – Carl Tamayo proved in his first year for UP – spanning two seasons thanks to a wonky pandemic calendar – that his chances of being the next big Filipino basketball superstar are practically a matter of when, not if.
In just his first two seasons representing the Fighting Maroons, the supremely skilled 21-year-old has racked up two UAAP Mythical Team citations with one historic championship for his new home in Katipunan.
Although his quest for going two of two in collegiate title hunts fell short thanks to the resurgent Ateneo Blue Eagles, Tamayo still got his name out to the world as a can’t-miss professional prospect.
Even as reported overseas offers head his longtime ward’s way, UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde was nothing but appreciative with the time and effort Tamayo put in despite battling nagging lower leg injuries for the latter half of the year.
“I’m not surprised with the effort Carl has put in because I’ve been with him since he was in first year high school. I’ve never seen him back off from playing with an injury and sometimes, we [coaches] are the ones who have to hold him out,” he said in Filipino after Game 3 of the Season 85 finals.
“I’m really grateful because even though he battled through a lot of injuries, he still thought about his team, our goals, and what else we need to do.”
Even on one good leg, Tamayo did enough damage to join his frontcourt partner and eventual MVP Malick Diouf in the Season 85 Mythical Team, and still be at the forefront of UP’s title defense.
Still physically and emotionally hurting after seeing his herculean efforts go to waste in the end, the Gilas Pilipinas prospect is weighing all career options, including a possible return for his third season with UP.
“I’ll take some rest first and think about it, and be ready with whatever opportunity comes,” Tamayo said.
“I’ll come back stronger next season, I’ll come back better,” he continued, without clarifying where he would spark up his comeback fire.
Whether with the Fighting Maroons, the national team, or elsewhere, fans can rest assured that Tamayo will always give his full dedication to winning basketball – healthy or otherwise. – Rappler.com