The two of them grew side by side into the players they are today, and so Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao will forever cherish the bond they shared during their time in National University-Nazareth School.
The two formed the solid frontline of the Bullpups crew that ruled both the NBTC and the UAAP Boys’ Basketball in the last two years, but what meant the most for them was the journey they had together en route to success.
“Dati napapanood ko na sila sa Under-25 eh. Kumbaga naghinala ako, ‘kala ko matatanda na talaga eh,” Quiambao recalled in The Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Prospects Pod, presented by SMART and Chris Sports.
“Nakasama ko sila sa training and sobrang saya kasama sila. Kasi tuturuan ka nila, papayuhan ka nila, and lahat ng pagkakamali mo sasabihin nila sa’yo. Prangka sila eh, para matama mo, para ‘yung growth mo mas tumaas pa.”
And the 6-foot-8 Quiambao exemplified that growth during his stay in NSNU. A transferee from LPU-Cavite, he was part of the UAAP Season 82 Mythical Team, and even topped the UAAP NBTC 24 rankings.
And among those immensely proud of that progress of the young stalwart from Muntinlupa is his frontcourt partner in Tamayo, who, like Quiambao, was a transferee as well, this time from Adamson.
“Una kasi iba siya noon eh, wala siya sa kondisyon. Pero ‘yung basketball IQ niya nandoon na talaga eh. Nahihirapan kami kasi hindi siya sanay sa laro namin eh, sa laro ng team kay Coach Gold (Goldwin Monteverde),” he said.
“Ayun, binuild lang nang binuild hanggang nakasabay siya, nag-learn siya nang nag-learn, nag-improve kami — sabay-sabay kaming team namin nag-improve. Kami, sina Kevin, ‘yun, Ngayon, ibang player na siya at iba na siya maglaro ngayon kumpara nung una namin siyang makita.”
Tamayo and Quiambao were undoubtedly two of the major reasons behind NSNU’s rise as the country’s best high school program. And it was almost certain that the towering duo, along with Abadiano, would bring their talent to the Bulldogs, especially after the promotion of Bullpups head coach Goldwin Monteverde as the chief mentor of the men’s team.
But in a shocking turn of events, that is no longer happening. Tamayo and Abadiano have committed to join University of the Philippines, while Quiambao has taken his act to De La Salle University.
“Simula nung bata nga ako, UP is my dream school. I have the opportunity na makapa-garal at the same time makakapaglaro ng basketball sa school na gusto ko,” said Tamayo.
“Mahirap din ‘yung decision sa akin kasi marami rin naman opportunity na pumupunta sa akin eh. Pero siguro ‘yun din family choice and inisip lang din naman nila ‘yung best for me, so naisip namin UP.”
“Napili ko ‘tong school na ‘to (De La Salle) dahil family’s decision na rin,” explained the soft-spoken Quiambao of his choice.
“‘Yung suporta ng family ko sa akin, ‘yun ‘yung naging factor kasi simula pagkabata ko, kumbaga parang soldier ako sa kanila. Susundin ko lang kung ano ‘yung nasa puso ko and nasa puso rin nila.”
This means that the twin towers of M.F. Jhocson are no more. And it may feel weird for some of the NU faithful to see the talents who grew and developed in their own backyard donning different school colors.
Both cagers, though, feel very excited about writing new chapters of their respective promising careers. And they particularly look forward to going up against each other.
“Ako isa lang, si Kevin,” said a grinning Tamayo, as he and his fellow Bullpups in the podcast were asked which players are they excited to face in the collegiate ranks.
“Nire-recruit ko, ayaw eh.”
“Mabigat kalaban ‘tong UP,” Quiambao said, on the other hand, as the Fighting Maroons have stocked up on young talent recently.
“Lalo na, ‘yung dati kong ka-twin tower, ngayon babantayan ko na.”