UAAP: Carl Tamayo still confident of UP’s title chances despite Game 2 loss
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines star Carl Tamayo is confident of the Fighting Maroons’ chances at keeping the UAAP men’s basketball crown despite failing to complete a sweep on Wednesday in Game 2.
Tamayo, one of UP’s brightest stars, willed his team back from a 15-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter as he sparked a run to trim Ateneo’s lead to just nine, 63-54, with 4:46 remaining.
But a crucial missed dunk by Henry Galinato turned out to be a momentum stopper as the Fighting Maroons only scored a point for the remainder of the match as the Blue Eagles tied the series with a 65-55 win in front of 20,616 fans at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Sinubukan lang naming humabol sa laro. I think, nag-short kami dun,” said Tamayo, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “[Pinagusapan namin] about sa experience lang namin, laban lang hanggang dulo, sabi ko.”
Tamayo may not be in top shape due to his nagging right ankle injury but he vows to continue to give his all to keep UP on top of the UAAP when they play another winner-take-all Game 3, which is expected to be another dramatic match.
“I think I am 80 to 90 percent this Finals. Coach always tells me that it will heal after the season. But I always try my best to play through the pain because this is the Finals,” he said in Filipino. “Early season, I was fighting through the psychological effects of my injury but as I went on, I found my rhythm.”
Tamayo remains confident that his team can complete another historic championship run in Game 3 on Monday, just like they did six months ago to end a 36-year title drought.
“We still have a chance in Game 3. We just have to do the right things and win the right way,” said the two-time mythical team member. “We just need to stick to our system and game plan.”
“I’m confident with my teammates. We need to prepare and play the right way and I think we’ll have a good chance at winning the championship,” he added.