Carl Tamayo is going to be a problem for his opponents.
Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin himself offered as much. The mentor is total awe with the competitive drive that the 6-foot-8 forward has been showing in the national team’s training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.
The UP Fighting Maroon is among the new faces infusing the youth-laden talent pool. He joins the likes of Jason Credo, Jordan Heading, Lebron Lopez, RJ Abarrientos, Geo Chiu, SJ Belangel, and Tzaddy Rangel.
“He’s gonna be a problem for all of his opponents,” Baldwin said in a guest appearance on Hoops Life, presented by SMART Sports Tuesday.
The multi-decorated mentor admitted that he had little knowledge about the former NU Bullpup prior to meeting him in Gilas. Upon seeing such a young player with a towering presence, though, he felt astounded.
“Strangely enough, I have had very limited exposure to Carl Tamayo.
“My first impression when he walked in was, ‘Who is this guy? Where did we find a 6-8 guy that I don’t know who he is?’ ‘Cause I was expecting Carl to walk in and be like 6-5, 6-6. He’s clearly 6-8,” Baldwin shared.
“So I quickly ran over to him as a fanboy would, and introduced myself. I said, ‘Who are you?’ and, ‘Coach, I’m Carl, nice to see you.’ I was really impressed just when he walked in the room,” he quipped.
However, it wasn’t his size alone that stood out for the former Gilas head coach. It was really how competitive the 20-year-old is.
“I’m not gonna get into too much praise. He’s a very, very fine player and huge upside. But let me tell you something I didn’t know about him … When Carl went out on the court, and I saw him immediately being confrontational, immediately being a bit of a… I gotta keep my language clean here, I think. Can I say an A… I’ll just say an antagonist. I’ll say an antagonist. But most of us can convert it to what I really wanna say,” Baldwin narrated.
“He wanted a piece of everybody.
“And in an environment where he didn’t have any natural teammates, he didn’t have anybody from NU that was his buddy, he immediately … Let’s say Isaac Go set an illegal screen on one of his teammates. He was gonna get a piece of Isaac shortly thereafter. I’m over there on the sideline looking for somebody to tell how much I love this kid,” he furthered.
And that sole reason is why the 62-year-old American-Kiwi admires the former Gilas Youth standout so much.
“But I fell in love with the kid for that reason alone,” he said. “Coach Alton Lister and I were talking on the ride over here to the bubble, and we were talking about the fact that Filipinos are such a nice race of people. And far too many of them carry that niceness from off the court, on the court.
“It’s not that they’re not competitive —they are — and then they’re talented, and they want to win and all of that. But they are not made of that substance that they will do almost anything to win, generally speaking,” he added.
“I don’t think Carl is gonna back down from anybody when it comes to trying to get to his end goal on the basketball court. And I think that bodes extremely well for him, for any team that he plays for.”