On the day Kevin Quiambao received his UAAP Season 86 MVP award, he proved why he is the Most Valuable Player for De La Salle University in their most important game of the year.
The DLSU team had their backs against the wall versus University of the Philippines in the Finals.
In a surprising move, the 6-foot-6 all-around forward came off the bench as the Green Archers coaching staff wanted to have someone on the bench to provide the scoring kick.
The 22-year-old pride of Muntinlupa willingly accepted the role of being the second group’s energizer.
That paid dividends, as Quiambao was part of the five that turned La Salle’s fortunes around after a flat 12-2 start to the game.
The rest of the Green Archers then followed suit as they bounced back hard and forced Game 3 with an 82-60 win on Sunday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“We wanted to make sure that we’re gonna have at least a backup with our starters. Whatever happens, we have somebody that will come off the bench and provide and KQ was ready for the challenge,” said La Salle head coach Topex Robinson.
“Sabi niya nga kung ano yung gusto namin susunod lang din siya. He responded well and he gave us an extra boost after our starters,” added the first-year coach of the Green Archers.
Although Quiambao struggled heavily from the field by going just 3-of-17, he still managed to finish with nine points. Moreover, he contributed big time on the defensive end with 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Be it a starter or a second-stringer, Quiambao just wanted to help his team win Game 2 after personally having a bad game in Game 1.
“Game One ineffective ako. Ngayon kailangan ko lang istep aside yung ego ko and naging off ball player ako,” said the newly-minted MVP.
“Sobra akong na-overwhelm and excited dahil marami pang work and learnings sa game na ito. Overall, nag-compete kami talaga.”
Game 3 is on Wednesday at the historic SMART Araneta Coliseum, which drew 20,863 fans in Game 2 halved into green and maroon.
And whatever it takes, Robinson knows Quiambao is willing to do anything for La Salle.
“He’s really a well-rounded player willing to take the responsibility and even coming off the bench knowing he just won MVP. It really shows how much he really wants to win for us,” said Robinson.