Kib Montalbo on surprise return: 'I just wanna play basketball'
MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle Green Archers team captain Kib Montalbo was not going to let a thumb injury ruin his final season in the UAAP.
With just more than a week into his scheduled four to six-week recovery window, the scrappy floor general returned to the hardcourt into no less than the league’s marquee Ateneo-La Salle rivalry showdown on Saturday, October 6.
As expected, the sea of green and white rose to roaring applause when Montalbo – taped up finger and all – was the first man off the bench.
Unfortunately, inspiration was not enough to stop the relentless defense of the Blue Eagles as the Archers fell hard, 55-71. Montalbo finished with just 4 points and 3 rebounds in over 24 minutes of action.
In fact, his backcourt partner Aljun Melecio was the only Archer to post double-digit numbers with a game-high 21 points.
Regardless of the result, Montalbo was just happy to get his head back in the game.
“Well, the original [timetable] is 4 to 6 weeks but I just really want to play. That’s the bottomline,” he said. “It’s my last year and I don’t want my thumb injury to determine my season. Pati parents ko nga, di sang-ayon eh. Maraming di sang-ayon na lalaro ako.”
(Even my parents were against me playing. A lot of people were.)
“And I said that I’m gonna take that risk especially having a young team. As you can see, we really had a hard time, but we’ll get there,” he continued. “Little improvements have to be made, but I just wanna play. Even if I get injured, I’ll dive. I dove earlier with my fractured hand. It hurts but that’s how it is. I just wanna play for La Salle.”
Despite the timetable, head coach Louie Gonzales said Montalbo is really ready to go.
“He’s ready to play since the last game against UST. We’re just waiting that we could fully cover his thumb,” he said. “But he’s ready to play. Next game, he’ll play.”
With the La Salle ship currently on rocky waters at 3-3, Montalbo just couldn’t sit still and just watch. For better or worse, the captain is ready to ride the waves out. – Rappler.com