In front of a packed SM MOA Arena and with the University of the Philippines’ season on the line, young Carl Tamayo did not falter under tremendous pressure.
Instead, he rose to the occasion and shone like a diamond by delivering crucial plays in the closing seconds of their do-or-die game against De La Salle University.
Down by 14 with a little over seven minutes left, the 21-year-old carried the entire Fighting Maroons on his young shoulders.
With 21.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he would cap his masterpiece. Tamayo was fouled by Justine Baltazar and managed to complete the three-point play to give the Fighting Maroons a 76-74 lead.
Evan Nelle tried to go for the equalizer in the ensuing play, but eventually missed his layup attempt. Tamayo caught the rebound, was fouled, and sank two free throws to seal the 78-74 victory for the Fighting Maroons.
After the game, the two-time UAAP High School Basketball Finals MVP shared that he made sure to give his best effort in the final possession to get his team ahead with a crucial basket.
More importantly, it was to not let his second father Goldwin Monteverde down.
“Yun talaga ‘yung play namin, binigay talaga sa’kin ni Coach Gold ‘yung tiwala ‘nung last possession na ‘yun. Binigay ko lang ‘yung best ko, ‘yung tiwala ni Coach Gold na binigay sa’kin ng last part na ‘yun, ginampanan ko,” Tamayo claimed. “Ma-shoot ko man o mamintis, buong-buo ‘yung loob ko ‘nung part na ‘yun.
“Talagang wala na eh, lamang sila isa. Character nalang talaga ‘yung huli eh. ‘Di ko rin alam pa’no kami humabol eh. Wala lang talagang bumigay sa team namin. ‘Yun talaga ‘yung mahalaga.”
His never-say-die attitude is one of the greatest things he learned from Monteverde. It was Monteverde who instilled the fighting spirit in him and molded him into the player that he is today.
“Simula bata ako, hawak ako ni Coach Gold [Monteverde]. Never kami tinuruan na bumigay eh,” he stressed. “Alam namin nahihirapan kami, pero alam ko sa loob ko na simula bata ako walang bibitaw hanggang dulo, lalo na sa ganitong klaseng sitwasyon. Siguro dahil ‘dun sa hinubog sa’min ni Coach Gold simula ‘nung bata kami, lalabas at lalabas lalo na tuwing ganitong laro.
“Tsaka para sa UP community, para sa pamilya ko lahat ginawa ko kanina. Nagtiwala lang ako kay God, ‘di lang talaga ako bumigay. And alam ko sa loob ko na kayang panalunin kahit na down 14 kami nung last four minutes,” Tamayo continued.
“Nakita ko mga teammates ko – sila Harold [Alarcon], sila Malick [Diouf], sila Gerry [Abadiano]… Nakita ko sa kanila na ‘di sila bumibigay. Halos lahat ng teammates ko walang bumibigay. ‘Yun ‘yung nagbigay ng lakas sa’kin na gawin lahat ng makakaya ko para makuha ‘tong panalo na ‘to.”
The two go way back, since they’ve already fought many wars not just in the UAAP, not just in the Philippines, but also at the Southeast Asian level.
Both Tamayo and Monteverde won back-to-back titles with the NU-Nazareth Bullpups in the UAAP High School Boys’ Division for seasons 81 and 82. The team also represented the country in the 10th Asean School Games held in Malaysia. There, they swept the competition with a 4-0 slate and brought home the gold medal.
Now with the Fighting Maroons, both Tamayo and Monteverde are aiming to replicate the same level of success this time in the collegiate ranks. Set to face a mighty Ateneo squad in the Finals, they will make sure to fight until the very end to finally win the crown and halt the longstanding title drought of State U.