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Carl Tamayo a thorn on La Salle’s side anew

Oops, Carl Tamayo did it again.

Just like he did last May, Tamayo was too much for anybody and everybody De La Salle University put in front of him. Just like he did in the UAAP Season 84 semifinals, he proved to be the difference for the University of the Philippines on the first game day of Season 85 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The reigning Rookie of the Year posted a dominant double-double of 18 points and 19 rebounds on top of two assists and two steals, while also scoring the Fighting Maroons’ last four points. The last two of those came from the line where he coolly, calmy, and collectedly created more separation for his side, while the first two were courtesy of a pull-up mid-range jumper he shot over the outstretched arms of Mike Phillips.

The impressive come-through performance was reminiscent of last season’s semis, when he fired all but seven of his 19 points in the last three minutes to throw out what was once a double-digit edge for the Green Archers.

And so, in the span of five months, Tamayo has twice turned Taft Avenue into heartbreak central.

Believe him when he says, though, that it’s nothing personal against the green and white.UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-DLSU-vs-UP-Carl-Tamayo-3-1-scaled Carl Tamayo a thorn on La Salle's side anew Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

“Hindi naman about La Salle. Bawat game naman, dapat ganun. Na-feel ko lang na kailangang may mag-step up,” he told reporters in the post-game conference.

“And yung culture na bini-build namin na walang bibitaw, pinaninindigan lang namin. Ina-apply namin yun ‘di lang sa basketball kundi sa buhay namin.”

For much of the early-season heavyweight bout, La Salle was taking it to State U – now the defending champions.

#ReadMore  Rollercoaster first round puts Yuka Saso in Top 50 of Kochi tourney

Then UP just went to their 6-foot-8 modern big when it mattered most. And whether it was Phillips or teammate-turned-rival Kevin Quiambao, whether he was coming from beyond the arc or already down low, Tamayo just had all the answers for his side.UAAP85-Carl-Tamayo-1 Carl Tamayo a thorn on La Salle's side anew Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

“Iniisip ko nung lamang sila, hanggat ‘di pa tapos yung oras, may tsansa pa kaming manalo,” he remarked. “Proud ako sa teammates ko kasi wala talagang bumitaw, lumaban talaga hanggang dulo.”

At the same time, the 21-year-old made it clear that whatever was said by the Green Archers in the preseason press conference wasn’t bulletin board material.

Just three days ago, La Salle lead guard Evan Nelle proclaimed that they were the “favorites” and “no. 1.” To be fair, it was based on a strong showing in the preseason where they won the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup and reached the semis in the 2022 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.

The Fighting Maroons didn’t mind that at all, though.UAAP85-Terrence-Fortea-Carl-Tamayo Carl Tamayo a thorn on La Salle's side anew Basketball News UAAP UP  - philippine sports news

“Salita nila yun, paniniwala nila yun. We respect that, pero alam namin kung saan kami nakalugay,” he expressed.

“Alam namin ano kaya ng team namin. Gagawin lang namin yung dapat naming gawin.”

From May to October, Tamayo has had La Salle’s number. Will that continue, or will that change?

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