AFTER a short but successful stint with University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament, Carl Tamayo is bringing his act to overseas.
The 6-foot-7 Tamayo, touted as the best big man to grace the Fighting Maroons since Benjie Paras in the 80s, is headed to the lucrative Japan B.League, foregoing his three seasons of eligibility.
A two-time Mythical Team awardee, Tamayo led UP in ending a 36-year championship drought last May followed by a second place finish last month, bowing to Katipunan rival Ateneo in a three-game classic.
“I would like to share with everyone that I have been invited to play in the Japanese B-League, and after consulting my family, Coach Gold (Monteverde), my teammates, and the UPMBT management, I have decided to accept the offer to play professionally in Japan,” Tamayo posted in his Instagram account yesterday morning.
“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,” he added.
Tamayo played all total of 36 games for UP, averaging 13.08 points and 7.36 rebounds.
He was the Fighting Maroons’ leading scorer in Season 85, norming 12.89 points per game to go with 6.94 boards and 1.39 assists average in 18 games.
“If there is one thing I learned as a member of the UP Maroons, it is that we can count on the UP community to support us through thick or thin. Ito ang sinasabi nila nung hindi pa ako myembro ng Maroons, at ito ang nakita ko nung suot ko na ang maroon jersey ko: UP has the loudest, most supportive fans in the UAAP. Matatapang, matatalino, walang takot kahit kanino,” Tamayo said.
“Nakita namin yan nung nag finals tayo nung Season 84 at Season 85. We heard and felt your joy when we made history and won the championship last May; and we shared your pain when we finished first runner up last December.”
As he looks forward for a new chapter of his decorated career, Tamayo vowed that he will still carry with him the values instilled to him by the Fighting Maroons.
“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.”
Aside from Tamayo, the Fighting Maroons won’t have Zavier Lucero and Henry Galinato next month, leaving reigning MVP Malick Diouf manning the middle.
UP earlier lost reserve swingman RC Calimag, who moved to traditional NCAA powerhouse San Beda.