UP’s Carl Tamayo says he’ll play in UAAP Finals despite ankle injury
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines star Carl Tamayo bared he suffered a mild ankle sprain in the Fighting Maroons’ Final Four win over National University on Wednesday but assured he will be available in the finals.
The 6-foot-8 forward hurt his right ankle after landing on Jake Figueroa’s foot with 5:06 remaining in the first quarter when UP was trailing to National University, 13-7. He left the game momentarily before coming back in the final two minutes of the period.
Tamayo, however, only played 11 minutes and sat out of the entire fourth quarter, finishing with six points and one rebound.
With Tamayo limited, other Fighting Maroons stepped up to eliminate the Bulldogs, 69-61, on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Oo naman. Mild sprain lang naman. Tsaka Finals na yun iniinda ko nga lahat ng naiinda ko. Pagdating ng finals syempre wala ng rason para di maglaro,” Tamayo said on his nagging right ankle injury that he aggravated against University of the East in the second round.
(Of course, I’ll play. It’s just a mild sprain. It’s the finals, I’ve endured all the [injuries] I had to endure. When it comes to the finals, there’s no reason not to play.)
UP coach Goldwin Monteverde also guaranteed that Tamayo’s availability for next week’s best-of-three finals against the winner of the other semifinals pairing between top seed Ateneo and Adamson.
“When I asked our PT a while ago, he had a sprained ankle but it’s not that serious. He’ll be ready for the next game in the finals,” Monteverde said in Filipino.
Tamayo, a presumptive Mythical Team member, relished their second straight UAAP Finals in one year.
“I’m happy because our goal is to win the game. It doesn’t matter if I play long or short minutes as long as we come here to win and get our goal, I’ll be happy,” said Tamayo in Filipino.
The Season 84 top rookie also lit the desire of his teammates to step up like guard Gerry Abadiano, who scored four of his seven points in the last three minutes to put UP ahead, 63-61, with 1:47 to play before JD Cagulangan drilled the crucial baskets to seal the win.
“Carl is a huge help to our team. When he tweaked his ankle and not playing 100 percent, we really need to respond well even the game was not easy for us. We just responded the right way inside the court,” Abadiano said in Filipino.
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