By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
There will be no days off for superstar forward Carl Tamayo after immediately reinforcing the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in the 2022 FilOil Preseason Cup.
Fresh off a stellar outing with the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team during the FIBA Asia Cup, the dominant power forward was quick to make an impact in his debut game with the Fighting Maroons and finished with an impressive double-double performance of 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Tamayo’s efficient game powered the Fighting Maroons to an 83-59 rousing victory over the Mapua Cardinals and are now 2-0 in the ongoing basketball tournament.
It was an unstoppable game for the towering Tamayo after carrying the offensive load without the presence of its main gunners: Zavier Lucero, Ricci Rivero, and Malick Diouf.
Tamayo immediately caught fire in the opening period after scoring on several foul-counted opportunities underneath the basket and found his groove from the three-point line.
Despite letting go of their first-half lead, Tamayo once again answered the call and orchestrated a personal 9-0 offensive run to erase Mapua’s seven-point lead in just three minutes.
Tamayo knocked down two-straight three-pointers and converted a power move and-one play in the left block that quickly turned the tables.
From a 33-40 Mapua lead, the game suddenly shifted the Fighting Maroons’ way and nabbed the lead back at the 3:31 mark of the game off Tamayo’s three-point play.
Tamayo’s fiery third-quarter run ignited the Fighting Maroons to the fourth quarter, penetrating at will while burying most of their wide-open attempts from downtown that was generated from their extra passes.
Ilonggo point guard Gerry Abadiano backstopped Tamayo with a consistent performance of 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists and was a key factor during UP’s waxing hot fourth- quarter blitz.
Meanwhile, JD Cagulangan and Harold Alarcon, UP’s main guard rotation during their historic UAAP championship, added five points each in the win.