UAAP Basketball

No ego: MVP Quiambao embraces off-the-bench role for La Salle in UAAP finals equalizer

Delfin Dioquino

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No ego: MVP Quiambao embraces off-the-bench role for La Salle in UAAP finals equalizer

MEAN MUG. Kevin Quiambao in action for the La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball finals

UAAP

La Salle forces a winner-take-all clash against UP in the UAAP finals as newly crowned MVP Kevin Quiambao provides spark off the bench

MANILA, Philippines – The way Kevin Quiambao reacted to the news that he will not start in a UAAP finals game only provides further proof of how “special” he is.

La Salle head coach Topex Robinson praised Quiambao for his sacrifices as the MVP embraced the challenge of coming off the bench against UP – a move that resulted in a series-tying 82-60 win on Sunday, December 3.

“The moment I told him about it, as in nothing, as in, ‘Okay, coach.’ I would expect that he would say, ‘Why off the bench?’ But he just said to do what is best for the team,” said Robinson. “That is how special KQ is.”

“He is really a nice, nice, nice kid to have and I’m just fortunate and grateful to coach a player like Kevin Quiambao.”

Just like in Game 1, Quiambao – who officially got crowned MVP on Sunday – struggled offensively as he got contained to a season-low 9 points on a dismal 3-of-17 shooting.

But he made his presence felt in the other departments, with Quiambao hauling down 13 rebounds and recording 3 blocks.

His team-leading plus-minus of +23 proved his positive effect as the Green Archers erased an early double-digit lead in the opening quarter after Robinson pulled Quiambao off the bench.

Quiambao said he learned not to force the issue.

“I needed to adjust and dial down my ego for my teammates,” said the sophomore forward.

Quiambao claimed the MVP honors in runaway fashion after a sterling campaign in the elimination round, where he averaged 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.9 steals to lead La Salle to an 11-3 record for the second seed.

Those numbers took a dip in the playoffs, with Quiambao norming just 12.3 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists through three games across the semifinals and finals.

But ever the unselfish player, Quiambao is unbothered by his statistical drop.

“I have no problem with my numbers. As long as we’re winning, I’m happy,” he said.

Quiambao, though, looks to save the best for last in the winner-take-all Game 3 on Wednesday, December 6, as he seeks to guide the Archers to their first championship since 2016. (SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 basketball)

“I’ll be all out in Game 3 as if there is no tomorrow. I’ll be ready,” said Quiambao. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.