UAAP: Carl Tamayo credits help from talented UP side for stellar showing
MANILA, Philippines — Carl Tamayo, the only rookie in the top five of the MVP race, said anyone from the University of the Philippines can shine at any given game in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-7 freshman unleashed his season best 21 points on top of 10 rebounds to haunt National University, 84-76, for their seventh straight win last Tuesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Tamayo deflected his best college game yet to the system of coach Goldwin Monteverde and his team’s depth.
“It was just a good day for me. I’m just trying to be aggressive inside the court, it could be me, it could be Zav (Lucero), it could be Ricci (Rivero), it could be Noah (Webb),” said the Nazareth School standout after shooting 8-of-13.
“I just played my best and responded to the challenge of how we can win games and work as one, having lots of talent on our team,” he added.
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After eight games, the Gilas Pilipinas cadet emerged as the lone rookie in the top five MVP race tied with Far Eastern University center Emman Ojuola in fourth place with identical 57.0 statistical points.
UP has three players in the top 10 statistical points including No.2 Zavier Lucero, who had 67.0 statistical points — not far behind leader Ange Kouame of Ateneo (68.0), and Malick Diouf at joint seventh place tied with Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa and FEU’s RJ Abarrientos and L-Jay Gonzales with identical 50.0 SPs. Graduating winger Ricci Rivero is currently at 11th with 49.0 SPs.
Tamayo averaged 13.13 points and 7.5 rebounds per game that helped the Fighting Maroons earn their longest winning streak in recent memory for the solo second place, winning seven consecutive of their eight matches.
“I just follow our system and do my best to finish the passes of my teammates. I’m trying to be aggressive every time and try to help our team to start strong, and then finish strong,” he said.
The 21-year-old big man attributed their impressive run to their same winning mentality each game.
“We approach the game the same way regardless of who we are facing. Ateneo, UE or any team we approach the same way. We try to be aggressive every time, and then our goal is to win the game whoever we play against,” Tamayo said.
UP tries to extend its winning streak against FEU on Tuesday next week.