Carl Tamayo only focused on helping UP win amid early UAAP MVP talks
MANILA, Philippines — Carl Tamayo was picked by most of the coaches as an early MVP candidate of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, which tips off on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The University of the Philippines rising star was on top of the minds of Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin, Adamson’s Nash Racela, and his brother Olsen of Far Eastern University as well as assistant coaches Don Allado of University of the East and Rodney Santos of University of Santo Tomas when asked who could run away with the top individual plum this season.
Tamayo, last season’s Rookie of the Year, though, said he is is not eyeing any individual award with his only goal to deliver another championship to UP.
“I don’t think about it. I didn’t come here in the UAAP to think about the individual awards,” Tamayo told the reporters in Filipino.
“It’s all about the team first, I think. I’m just going to work hard, play hard. Help the team win games whatever happens.”
“Basketball is a team game. I think I’m just gonna work hard, I’m just gonna play hard and try to help the team to win every game,” he added.
PREPARED FOR WAR
With their team a heavy favorite this year after a breakthrough championship in Season 84, the 21-year-old forward admitted the pressure is always there, but they just have to lean on their experience from their previous historic title run and their fruitful preseason build-up from FilOil EcoOil tournament and UCBL and a training camp in South Korea.
“We’ve prepared so hard. We trained hard for this season to overcome the pressure because we know that we prepared for this war,” said the league’s mythical five member.
“We realized what it takes to be a champion. We saw what we needed to do to win a championship, the hard work we put in during the bubble, and the sacrifices we gave, which paid off.”
Tamayo, who played for Gilas Pilipinas, worked on his leadership and his perimeter shooting in the offseason as he remains hungry to deliver another title for UP.
“The goal is just to win championships all the time. That’s the reason why we play and sacrifice,” he said.
The 6-foot-7 forward is not the only one determined to run it back on top. Expect the Fighting Maroons to show their never-say-die attitude every game, just like they did last season to end the 36-year title drought.
“Expect us to fight until the end. We won’t give up and we will give our best every game,” Tamayo said. “We expect the support of our fans because they give us strength. We thanked them for helping us last season.”
Tamayo and the Fighting Maroons begin their title-retention bid against his former high school teammate Kevin Quiambao and the De La Salle Green Archers on Saturday at 4 p.m.