Japan B. League

Japan B. League beckons as Carl Tamayo leaves UP a UAAP champion

JR Isaga
Japan B. League beckons as Carl Tamayo leaves UP a UAAP champion

EXPERIENCED. Carl Tamayo continues to impress in the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup after a Gilas Pilipinas stint in the FIBA Asia Cup.

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

UP star Carl Tamayo forgoes his remaining three years of college eligibility to go pro in Japan, leaving behind a short-lived but lasting winning imprint for generations of Fighting Maroons to come

MANILA, Philippines – In sports, there are always times when a rising star gets too bright to be held down in one place, and Carl Tamayo is certainly one of those talents that comes once in a blue moon.

The 6-foot-7 forward, a huge part of the UP Fighting Maroons’ historic UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball championship in early 2022, confirmed persistent rumors by penning an emotional farewell letter stating his decision to go pro with the Japan B. League on Tuesday, January 10.

“If there is one thing I learned as a member of the UP Maroons, it is that we can count on the UP community to support us through thick or thin,” he wrote.

“We saw that when we reached the finals in Season 84 and Season 85. We heard and felt your joy when we made history and won the championship last May, and we shared your pain when we finished first runner-up last December,” he continued in a mix of English and Filipino.

In Season 84 as a rookie, Tamayo immediately catapulted himself to Mythical Five status, and captivated a fast-growing Maroons fan base alongside other star-caliber talents like Malick Diouf, JD Cagulangan, and Zavier Lucero.

Under his longtime coach Goldwin Monteverde – a rookie himself in the seniors division after multiple title-winning years in NU high school – Tamayo led UP through a grueling, fast-paced bubble season to its first men’s basketball championship since 1986.

In the same year, thanks to the UAAP’s unique attempt to bring back its sports calendar to as close to a pre-pandemic slate as possible, the Maroons were forced to immediately defend their newly won title before the year even ended.

Although UP came one game away from a successful defense, the Ateneo Blue Eagles completed their revenge tour from a runner-up finish the season prior, and brought the title back to their side of Katipunan Avenue in Season 85.

Throughout that eventful year, Tamayo dramatically hiked up his stock as he balanced duties with the Maroons and the Gilas Pilipinas national team, naturally attracting suitors outside the amateur sphere with a game and basketball IQ well beyond his years.

In forgoing his last three years of collegiate eligibility, Tamayo leaves a short-lived yet lasting imprint on UP basketball, as he helped cement a winning culture that many others before him laid the foundation for.

“Playing for UP has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I am grateful to Coach Gold, Coach Bo [Perasol], our sponsors, the whole team, the people behind Nowhere to Go But UP, and the UP community for welcoming me into the UP family, and for contributing to my growth as a basketball player,” he continued.

“I am especially grateful because my playing for UP has opened the doors to even more blessings and opportunities. Becoming a professional basketball player is a dream I have had ever since I started playing organized basketball. It will allow me to care for my family while playing the game that I love.”

Although he and the Maroons have not revealed which team he will suit up for, Tamayo now joins a huge Filipino player contingent already plying their craft up north in the Land of the Rising Sun, including Kiefer Ravena, Kobe Paras, Dwight Ramos, Ray Parks, and pioneering import Thirdy Ravena.

“To the UP community and to the team’s fans, salamat kaayo (thank you very much); I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and for your support. Whatever colors I wear in the years to come, my heart will always bleed maroon,” Tamayo concluded. – Rappler.com

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