UAAP: Kevin Quiambao bounces back in Game 2 after ‘ineffective’ finals opener
MANILA, Philippines — Despite being crowned as the first local Most Valuable Player in the UAAP in eight years, La Salle star Kevin Quiambao made sure to keep his focus on their goal to keep their title bid alive.
Quiambao received his Season MVP and Mythical Five trophies on Sunday shortly before Game 2 of the finals tipped off but what mattered more for him was helping the Green Archers bounce back from a humiliating Game 1 loss to University of the Philippines four days ago.
“Personally, yung sinasabi nila na MVP jitters, ‘di ko inisip yun. Talagang nag focus lang ako kung ano yung nasa laro. Yun nga, Game 2, sabi ko ‘di pwedeng ‘di kami manalo sa game na ‘to. Nung three straight practices namin, talagang nakipag bugbugan kami sa isa’t isa. Talagang tough love,” said Quiambao, who came off the bench and delivered nine points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks in an 82-60 victory.
“Sobrang saya na nakuha ko yung MVP, pero yung goal ko talaga is yung championship,” he added.
Quiambao, who was limited to 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists and minus 22 in La Salle’s 97-67 loss to UP in Game 1, admitted he was ineffective in the series opener.
That’s why he adjusted his game and set aside his ego.
“Nung Game 1, pinipilit ko talaga yung sitwasyon. Kahit parang ayaw sa akin nung sitwasyon, pilit talaga ng pilit. The day after ng game, pinanood ko yung game, yung buong clips, hindi ako masyadong nakatulog,” he said. “Talagang sobrang ineffective ako. So, ayun, kailangan ko lang i-step aside yung ego ko na maging off-ball player ako, na sinasabi ni coach. And then, kung ano yung binibigay na sitwasyon sakin ni UP, talagang tinetake advantage namin and good thing naman yung effort and then yung consistency nakita namin sa loob.”
“I think yung gigil factor medyo meron pa adin, Pero ayun nga, gusto ko nang kalimutann yung nangyari sakin nung game 1 na medyo pumapasok pa rin sa sarili ko. Sinabi ko lang sa sarili ko na kailangan ko lang trabahuhin every possession and find a way kung paano ako magiging effective,” he added.
Quiambao was also proud of his teammates as Francis Escandor, Joshua David, and CJ Austria stepped up when it mattered most to keep their title hopes alive.
Forcing a winner-take-all, Quiambao promises to play his heart out on Wednesday at the Big Dome.
“Wala namang problema sakin kahit ‘di ko makuha yung numbers. Basta manalo kami, masaya na ako. Pero Game 3, talagang all-out, wala nang bukas yun. Win or go home yon, kaya paghahandaan ko talagal,” he said.