With 4:07 left in the opening quarter of the De La Salle University Green Archers’ game against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, the green-side of the SM Mall of Asia Arena erupted into cheers. Kib Montalbo, who was supposed to be out for four to six weeks due to a fractured left thumb, checked into the game.
In his final year, the 21-year-old did not allow himself to miss what could be his penultimate rivalry game.
“Yung original is four to six weeks pero I just really want to play. That’s the bottom line. It’s my last year, I don’t want that an injury would determine my season, sabi ko kay coach. Pati parents ko hindi sang-ayon,” the 5-foot-9 combo guard shared.
“Maraming hindi sang-ayon na lumaro ako, pero I said I’m gonna take that risk, especially having a young team, mahihirapan talaga but we’ll get there.”
Even if he is nursing an injury, Montalbo still did what he was good at. He dove for loose balls and tried to do the little things against a highly-touted Ateneo squad.
“I dove kanina with my fractured hand, masakit siya pero wala eh,” admitted the native of Bacolod.
“I just want to play for La Salle.”
“Of course, si Kib yun e, iba yung energy and yung tulong na binibigay ni Kib sa court. ‘Di pa siya 100 percent, pero proud ako sa puso na lumaban siya,” Aljun Melecio said about his captain’s return.
However, it all went for naught, as the Blue Eagles proved to be too much and La Salle absorbed a 55-71 defeat.
Even against the orders of his parents and doctors, Montalbo declared that he will soldier on the rest of the way.
“You’ll expect me to play my heart out sa La Salle buong season. Tapilok, anything ayokong mangyari, God-willing, sa grace Niya lang na nakapaglaro ako,” said Montalbo, who finished with four points, three rebounds, and a steal in his return.
“I will play.”
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