By CARLO ANOLIN
University of the Philippines rookie Carl Tamayo credited his teammates and coach Goldwin Monteverde for the extra push they gave to him in the last four minutes of their semifinals showdown against De La Salle.
If there’s one trait that Tamayo had to personify in basketball, that is the life-long lesson instilled by Monteverde: To never give up.
The passed down wisdom, since Tamayo played under Monteverde’s wing in the National University Bullpups, materialized in the collegiate level as the UP star rookie delivered down the stretch to help the Fighting Maroons pull off a hard-earned 78-74 win at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Friday night, May 6.
“Simula bata ako, hawak ako ni coach Gold. Never niya kaming tinuruan na bumigay. Alam naming nahihirapan kami pero alam ko sa loob ko na simula bata ako, walang bibitaw hanggang dulo,” said the 6-foot-7 Tamayo, who scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists.
He finished with a 5-of-18 shooting from the field, but what mattered was how he impacted the outcome of the game.
“Lalo na sa ganitong sitwasyon. Siguro dahil don sa hinubog kami ni coach Gold simula bata kami lalo na tuwing ganitong laro,” he added.
The win propelled the Fighting Maroons to set up a Finals showdown against reigning champions Ateneo Blue Eagles on Sunday.
This time, Tamayo not only dedicated the win to his family and to God but also to the whole UP community.
The Gilas Pilipinas stalwart also kept going after seeing his teammates pushing through and remaining unfazed despite being down 10 points in the last four minutes.
Harold Alarcon also shone as he sparked the Maroons’ backbreaking 12-2 run. Tamayo and Malick Diouf were part of that attack that saw UP tie the game at 73-all deadlock.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“Halos lahat ng teammates ko walang bumigay. ‘Yon ‘yong nagbigay ng lakas sakin na gawin lahat ng makakaya ko para makuha ‘yong panalo,” said Tamayo.
Diouf chalked up 14 points, 17 rebounds, and four steals to make up for his seven turnovers while Alarcon added 14 points built on three triples to go with six rebounds.
Ricci Rivero also chipped in 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals for UP, which opted to sit out swingman CJ Cansino due to bone bruising on his knee.
UP 78 ‒ Tamayo 19, Diouf 14, Alarcon 14, Rivero 12, Abadiano 7, Cagulangan 6, Spencer 5, Lucero 1, Ramos 0.
DLSU 74 ‒ Winston 26, Nonoy 11, M. Phillips 10, Baltazar 9, Nelle 6, Manuel 4, Nwankwo 4, Lojera 2, Austria 2, B. Phillips 0.
Quarters: 15-22, 39-44, 51-64, 78-74.