Carl Tamayo always open to playing for Gilas Pilipinas
MANILA, Philippines — Carl Tamayo reaffirmed his commitment to play for Gilas Pilipinas, even if his focus will be on University of the Philippines’ title-retention bid in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
“I am not closing my doors on Gilas. Always grateful and blessed to represent our country. I am always ready to help the country,” said Tamayo in Filipino on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-7 forward was among the UAAP players eyed by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the fifth window pool of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers as Gilas plays two away games, facing Jordan on November 10 and Saudi Arabia on Nov. 13.
Last season’s top rookie vows to be available for the country as the UAAP will take a break from Nov. 7 to 15 to accommodate the national team’s campaign.
“If they’re gonna call me, I’ll be there all the time,” Tamayo said.
The 21-year-old big man played for Gilas in the last two windows of the World Cup qualifiers and in the Fiba Asia Cup.
As one of the leaders of the Fighting Maroons this season, Tamayo shared his experience ith his college teammates as they seek to win a second straight championship.
“What I shared with my teammates when I played on the international (stage) was a very big thing. It’s a very good example. I shared all the learnings with them during our training,” he said.
Relative to international stint, most of the Gilas players and collegiate standouts took their talents in Korea and Japan.
When Tamayo was asked about taking his talent abroad? He’s not closing his door, too. But for now, all he wants is to deliver another title to UP.
“As of now, I’m just focusing on UP, trying to help the team to win the championship again,” he said. “Playing abroad, I’ll never close my door to playing abroad. But I think, for now, I’m here in UP, to play in UP.”
Tamayo also relished their experience in South Korea, where they spent their build-up for their title-retention bid starting on Saturday against La Salle at Mall of Asia Arena.
“When you go to other countries and play their brand of basketball and culture, it’s really different. It had a huge impact on us. We try to adopt the good culture that they have. The team realized how far we are from their level,” he said. “But after our Korea trip, I think we learned a lot and improved as a team, and as individuals.”