FROM Diliman to Japan.
UAAP star forward and national team member Carl Tamayo yesterday has announced his departure from University of the Philippines after two seasons, accepting an offer to go pro as an Asian import in the Japan B. League.
Mr. Tamayo, who has three more playing years left with the Fighting Maroons, said it was not an easy process but he eventually came to the decision after a heartfelt consultation with his family, coach Goldwin Monteverde, his teammates and the UP management.
“Becoming a professional basketball player is a dream I have had ever since I started playing organized basketball. It will allow me to care of my family while playing the game that I love,” posted Mr. Tamayo on his Instagram account.
Since his breakout campaign both for UP and Gilas Pilipinas last year, Mr. Tamayo has been gaining interests from overseas teams, mainly the B. League and the Korean Basketball League.
The 21-year-old ace is yet to disclose which team in the B. League he’ll be playing for but there is no doubt on what Mr. Tamayo can deliver owing to his decorated resume as one of the best collegiate players in the Philippines.
After an equally impressive high school career for the NU Bullpups, Mr. Tamayo took the UAAP by storm in Season 84 as he helped the Fighting Maroons topple the dynasty of then three-time UAAP champion Ateneo for their first title in 36 years.
The 6-foot-7 Mr. Tamayo was hailed as the Rookie of the Year in that season aside from a Mythical Five citation.
Buoyed by multiple tours with Gilas, Mr. Tamayo once again made it to the UAAP Season 85 Mythical Team albeit UP fell to Ateneo this time for a foiled back-to-back title bid.
He averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists, numbers that he is anticipated to carry over or even surpass in the B. League.
In the end, Mr. Tamayo paid gratitude and tribute to the Fighting Maroons, who molded him to a ready pro cager representing Diliman and the Philippines abroad.
“To the UP community and to the team’s fans, salamat kaayo; I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and for your support. Whatever colors I wear in the years to come, my heart will always bleed Maroon,” he said.
Mr. Tamayo joined a fast-growing list of Filipino imports in Japan led by Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, Matthew Wright, Greg Slaughter, Roosevelt Adams and Kobe Paras. — John Bryan Ulanday