UAAP Basketball

Quiambao determined to shake off jitters after forgettable UAAP seniors debut

JR Isaga
Quiambao determined to shake off jitters after forgettable UAAP seniors debut

La Salle's Kevin Quiambao and his former NU high school teammate, UP star Carl Tamayo at the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

La Salle star rookie Kevin Quiambao picks up valuable lessons from his lackluster UAAP seniors debut against his high school teammate Carl Tamayo and the defending champion UP Fighting Maroons

MANILA, Philippines – La Salle star rookie Kevin Quiambao made his long-awaited UAAP seniors debut with the Green Archers with a baptism of fire against the defending champion UP Fighting Maroons.

However, instead of churning out a performance worthy of the Nikola Jokic comparisons FIBA itself bestowed upon him, the Gilas Pilipinas prospect – to put it bluntly – tried to do too much, which eventually backfired as the Archers yet again wasted a big lead and lost, 69-72.

Quiambao was his own harshest critic after tallying a line of 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, but also a 2-of-13 shooting clip with 3 turnovers in 29 minutes off the bench.

“The start of my season was bad. I’ll just take this as a lesson and it’s a good thing that it’s only the first game of a long season,” the 6-foot-8 forward said in Filipino. “We have to learn from our mistakes and learn them for the next games.”

“I was really excited to play starting from warm-ups, and having that feeling to get back, it’s like being jetlagged from our high school season,” Quiambao continued. “So there, in my excitement, I wasn’t able to follow coach’s system. I had mental lapses in the game.”

Bad games are nothing new for rookies in any sport and the 21-year-old, who had a handful of inefficient, high-turnover preseason games, is no exception.

But at his best, Quiambao is already a national team-caliber “point center,” who can run fast breaks off a rebound and can either fire off pinpoint passes to open shooters or cutters, or create offense for himself in the post or from the perimeter.

“For me, I just need to calm down. Whenever I get the ball, I get really excited, which caused a lot of lapses. I’ll take note of those lapses and try to learn from them for the next games,” he said.

“I’ll figure it out, watch film, see what I did. That’s it. We’ll bounce back next game.”

The pressure is on once again for Quiambao and rest of La Salle as they next face a UST Growling Tigers team fresh off a 33-point explosion from sophomore sensation Nic Cabanero and a stunning 69-60 opening day win over the Adamson Soaring Falcons. –

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