Kevin Quiambao will never forget January 23, 2019.
“Actually, wala na ako maalala sa game na nilaro namin ‘yun, pero ang naaalala ko talaga ‘yung disappointment ko ng araw na ‘yun,” the 19-year-old told Tiebreaker Times.
His disappointment was not in the game itself, though. Nazareth School of National University was able to stave off De La Salle-Zobel, 82-67, after all.
Instead, he felt distress because just three minutes into that game, Raven Cortez fell down on the court of the Filoil Flying V Centre. The then-16-year-old suffered an MCL tear.
“Sobrang disappointed talaga ako nun kasi breakout season dapat ni Raven ‘yun, dahil kakagaling lang niya sa injury tapos ganun nangyari,” grimaced Quiambao.
It would be the last time Cortez would play in an organized game.
For the next two years, the native of Dagupan, Pangasinan trained hard. But even with all the hard work he put in, he could not recover in time for Season 82.
Questions lingered on whether the bright prospect would be recruited by a blue-blood college. He saw his prayers answered when La Salle came calling.
Without batting a lash, Cortez committed to La Salle, Tuesday afternoon.
No one was happier than 6-foot-8 Quiambao, since he gets to form twin tower duo with 6-foot-7 Cortez.
“Super excited ako dahil matagal pa kami magsasama! Imagine, dating kalaban ko lang, magiging kakampi ko na. Exciting talaga,” said Quiambao, who was a member of the All-UAAP team in Season 82.
“Excited din ako dahil magiging magka-batch kami,” added Cortez.
“Looking forward talaga ako to playing with him.”
Having been away from the game for almost two years, Cortez knows that it will take a long time to find his old form. Luckily for him, Quiambao has vowed to help him out in this long process.
“Handa akong tulungan siya and ibahagi ‘yung skills na binigay ni Lord sa akin. Ako din, makikinig din ako sa kanya kung ano ‘yung willing niyang ibahagi sa akin.”