Frantic search on for UP’s new two-way force as Tamayo departs | Inquirer Sports

Frantic search on for UP’s new two-way force as Tamayo departs

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:20 AM January 11, 2023

UP Fighting Maroons' stalwart Carl Tamayo decides to play in Japan. –Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

UP Fighting Maroons’ stalwart Carl Tamayo decides to play in Japan. –Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

When Carl Tamayo announced his flight toward greener pastures in the Japan B.League on Tuesday, it set off a frantic search to fill the gaping hole he will leave to what was once a menacing, power-packed University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons’ front line.

It made that void in the middle even wider following the early departure of forwards Zavier Lucero and one-and-done Henry Galinato after the heart-breaker the Maroons absorbed in the UAAP Season 85 Finals versus the Ateneo Blue Eagles.


But the enthusiasm and zeal embedded deep within the UP community have met these exits with much optimism for the Maroons to rebuild from the ashes of the valuable pieces they’ve lost.


“There are no players in the pool that could fill his (Tamayo) spot yet. We are going back to the recruitment stage,’’ UP men’s basketball team (UPMBT) program director Bo Perasol told the Inquirer.

Season Most Valuable Player Malick Diouf should be back for another year as the anchor of the Fighting Maroons’ inside game, which will surely be diminished by absence of the 6-foot-7 Tamayo, 6-foot-6 Lucero and the brawny 6-foot-6 Galinato.

Formidable backcourt

UP’s anticipated manpower woes inside the paint must be filled up by a trio of able second-string 6-foot-5 forwards in Bismarck Lina, Anton Eusebio and Ashon Andrews.

“Our training will resume Jan. 16. For sure, we will have a training camp overseas. Minimum is to go back to Korea,’’ said Perasol.

The backcourt rotation of the Maroons, who owned the most imposing front line last season, hands-down, will remain formidable with Harold Alarcon, Terrence Fortea, Gerry Abadiano, Cyril Gonzales and James Spencer still around.

Also sticking out with the Maroons is JD Cagulangan, the hero of their Game 3 championship triumph over the Blue Eagles in Season 84, plus the return of CJ Cansino from a season-long recovery due to an ACL injury.


“We still have a solid backcourt. All of them are still eligible [to play],’’ said Perasol.

Tamayo’s departure will surely be felt as the Maroons try to wrest the title away from Ateneo, especially since the Blue Eagles have already filled Ange Koume’s spot with 6-foot-10 Joseph Obasa.

Tamayo, a vital part of their championship machinery, has decided to cut his collegiate career short with the Maroons, adding to the growing list of Filipino imports overseas.

In his two seasons with the Maroons, Tamayo was the focal point of the UP offense along with Diouf, Lucero and Cagulangan. Lucero abruptly ended his collegiate career with a torn left ACL in Game 2 of their finals series with Ateneo.


After consulting UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde, the UPMBT management and his teammates, Tamayo accepted the offer to play professionally in the Japan B.League, joining former UAAP stars Kobe Paras, Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena.

“Becoming a professional basketball player is a dream I have had ever since I started playing organized basketball. It will allow me to care for my family while playing the game that I love,’’ said Tamayo.

The Season 84 Rookie of the Year posted 13.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season and expressed his gratitude to the UP community on his way out.

“If there’s one thing I learned as a member of the UP Maroons, it is that we can count on the UP community to support us through thick or thin,’’ said Tamayo, who owns a diverse set of skills underneath and has a decent touch that even extends far beyond the perimeter.

“This is why playing for UP has been one of the greatest blessings in my life, and I am grateful to coach Gold (Monteverde), coach Bo, our sponsors, the whole team, the people behind Nowhere to go but UP and the UP community for welcoming me into the UP family and for contributing to my growth as a basketball player,’’ added the Cebuano inside operator.

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For the Maroons, however, life goes on with the rest of the team ready to recover from a foiled championship attempt in UAAP Season 86. INQ

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