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UAAP basketball: Carl Tamayo shows never-say-die character in UP comeback win


UP's Carl Tamayo. UAAP PHOTO

UP’s Carl Tamayo. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Since coach Goldwin Monteverde handled Carl Tamayo in high school, the big man learned to never give up.

The 6-foot-7 center showed what he learned from his longtime coach as four personal fouls didn’t stop him from unleashing 12 of his 19 points to lift University of the Philippines to the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball Finals with an amazing come-from-behind 78-74 victory over La Salle in their do-or-die Final Four match on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

“Simula nung bata ako, hawak ako ni Coach Gold, never kaming tinuruang bumigay,” said Tamayo, who is under Monteverde since his first high school team, Adamson in 2016, before transferring to Nazareth School, where they won two titles together.

“Alam naming nahihirapan kami, pero alam ko sa loob ko simula bata ako, walang bibitaw hanggang dulo, lalo na sa ganitong sitwasyon. Siguro dahil doon sa hinubog sa amin ni Coach Gold simula nung bata kami, lalabas at lalabas lalo na sa ganitong laro.”

[Since coach Gold handled me since I was a kid, he taught us not to give up. Even we’re having a hard time, I know since I was a kid that we will fight until the end, especially in this kind of situation. Coach Gold shaped us up.]

When UP went down 70-56 early in the payoff period, the 21-year showed maturity beyond years and took matters into his own hands.

Tamayo scored a crucial and one play over La Salle big men Justine Baltazar and Michael Phillips to put his team ahead, 76-74, with 21.5 seconds left.

“That was the play. Coach Gold really trusted me in our last possession. I just gave my best and wanted to repay coach Gold’s trust. So I took that responsibility, shoot or miss,” he said. “I was composed in that part. They led by one so I showed my character. My team just didn’t give up.”

Tamayo also stopped Evan Nelle from tying the game, securing the crucial rebound and delivering the game-sealing free throws that brought back the Fighting Maroons to the UAAP Finals after four years to facing the three-time defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles.

The Cebuano big man, who was in tears while singing UP’s alma mater, deflected the credit to his teammates for his heroics.

“I didn’t carry my team. My teammates didn’t give up. The win wasn’t about me. I was just lucky to get the timely hits. I was in tears because it felt good to see my teammates not giving up in any kind of situation. They didn’t go down without a fight,” Tamayo expressed.

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