Kevin Quiambao has been an undisputed winner in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament, winning the crown back to De La Salle University while also copping the league and finals MVP awards.
And throughout his journey this season, he has enjoyed the support of the entire La Salle community including the former Green Archers that came before him.
One of them was Mac Cardona, Quiambao’s childhood idol.
“For sure (isa talaga siya sa mga tinitingala ko) kasi nung high school ako puro one hand shot nga inspired yun kay Kuya Mac,” said the 6-foot-6 ‘point forward’ after winning it all on Wednesday.
Cardona, through the course of his basketball career, had earned the monicker “Captain Hook” due to his hook shots. He also became famous with his celebration of “anong height mo?” after scoring against much taller defenders.
And after that stinging 97-67 Game 1 loss against University of the Philippines in the Finals, Cardona was one of the many hands that pushed Quiambao back on the court to fight harder and better.
“Thankful ako na nakatanggap ako ng words of encouragement sa kanya and talagang tinawagan niya ako after ng Game 1,” shared the pride of Muntinlupa of his conversation with his idol.
“Knowing yung pinagdaanan ni Kuya Mac on and off the court, ups and downs, thankful ako sa kanya.”
After that call, that definitely helped Quiambao pick up the pieces as he and the Green Archers went on a rampage in Game 2, 82-60, to force a decider.
In the winner-take-all, Quiambao showed the way as La Salle took down UP, 73-69, in front of 25,192 fans in attendance to witness the Green Archers end their seven-year title drought.
Now, Quiambao and Cardona share three significant similarities: both are Rookie of the Year winners, champions, and La Salle legends.