UAAP: Carl Tamayo brushes aside preseason talk in UP win | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: Carl Tamayo brushes aside preseason talk in UP win

/ 09:52 PM October 02, 2022
Carl Tamayo UP Fighting Maroons UAAP

UP big man Carl Tamayo during a game against La Salle in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Carl Tamayo and University of the Philippines got their title retention bid on the right foot with a close win over La Salle on Saturday reminiscent of the Fighting Maroons’ highwire escape in their Final Four clash last summer.

The do-it-all forward also knew of Evan Nelle’s preseason pronouncements, where the latter anointed the Green Archers as the tournament favorite.

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But those are hardly good enough reasons to gloat, according to the national team standout.

“That’s their belief, and we respect that,” Tamayo said in Fillipino referring to Nelle’s comments made during the preseason kickoff earlier this week.

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“But we know where we are,” he went on. “And we know what this team is capable of.”

UP reminded everyone at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City why it is the defending champions of the men’s basketball tournament, turning in a steely performance to hold off La Salle, a program that steadily churns out perennial contenders.

Tamayo had 18 points, 19 rebounds spiked with two assists and a pair of steals to lead the 72-69 victory over La Salle.

Terrence Fortea, his high school teammate, pumped in 15 points, five rebounds, and nine assists in a much-needed performance for a Fighting Maroons squad missing the services of last season’s Finals hero JD Cagulangan, who continues to rest an unspecified muscle tear.

“Whatever they (Archers) think of their team, we respect that. But we also have our own beliefs. We played, and we did everything we could do, and thank God we got the win,” said Tamayo, who also brushed off the thought that he continues to be La Salle and Nelle’s source of torment.

Nelle, just like in La Salle and UP’s do-or-die clash for a Finals berth in Season 84, squandered a golden opportunity to win the game.

“This is not about (beating) La Salle,” Tamayo said. “I just feel that the team needed someone to step up. And this is part of the culture we’re trying to build—that no one’s going to let up.”

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“We just stayed true to (the mantra). We’re trying to apply that not only in basketall, but also in our lives. And for me, that’s what I was thinking when (La Salle) was leading. Until there’s time left, we have a chance to win the game.”

UP truly lived up to its lofty billing that night. But little did Tamayo realize that he and his teammates were living up to something else.

“Just proud of my teammates, because nobody let go. They battled until the end,” he said.

Truly the “Fighting” Maroons.

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TAGS: Carl Tamayo, UAAP, UP Fighting Maroons
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