Kib Montalbo earns praise for leadership despite 'crappy' game
MANILA, Philippines – Kib Montalbo’s final playing year for the La Salle Green Archers has been painful and difficult, to say the least.
After suffering a left thumb injury against UE on September 23, the fiery team captain has shattered his 4-6 weeks recovery timetable, although at a cost.
Because he admittedly played through his injury just to avoid missing more games, Montalbo’s scoring averages have plummeted to just 4.6 points on a 28.6% shooting clip from the field, 10.5% from three and 46.7% from the free throw line. His trademark assists and steals are still there, but his scoring has completely gone AWOL.
So the graduating guard took it upon himself to describe his game like it is.
“I’ve been playing like crap,” he said after the game. “I’m gonna use that term. I’ve been playing like crap for this season. Numbers are down but I see to it that my leadership is there. Contribute things that are not in the stat sheet.”
And indeed, his leadership qualities have earned praises from head coach Louie Gonzalez.
“Actually this game I really credit to my coaching staff and to my seniors, especially my captain, Kib Montalbo,” said Gomzalez.
“Throughout the game, Kib was really trying to put everybody on the same page. When they made the 10-0 run, Kib’s leadership really shone there. I give this game to him for guiding his teammates.”
“As a senior, he knows how important this game is for the team and also for him, playing in his last year,” he continued. “I told them this will help. A win tonight, it’ll be a big help in our campaign and our target of making it to the Final Four, though we know that’s still far. But this game, it’s been a really big help.”
“I just answer the call of this team that needs a leader,” Montalbo said. “When I bathed earlier, I told myself we can do this. It’s a big game. You know what’s at stake here. Coach needs a leader inside the court, so I answered his call. It’s by the grace of God that I was able to play.”
Sure enough, Montalbo’s forced return has worked wonders for the lone stat that really matters: wins.
The supposedly rebuilding La Salle is now at 3rd place behind leaders Ateneo and Adamson with a 6-4 record. In a very tight Final Four race that currently has five teams fighting over the latter two playoff spots, every win really counts.
As the man himself put it, he doesn’t want his season to end at the elimination round.
“I just wanna play for La Salle. Last 4 games. Hopefully not. Last 7, 8, like that,” he said with a smirk. – Rappler.com