By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons superstar Carl Tamayo is all set for a highly-anticipated Japan B. League debut after signing with the Ryukyu Golden Kings for the upcoming playing season.
The B. League participating club announced their latest acquisition last January 11, 2023 via their social media pages.
Under the deal, the six-foot-seven combo forward was rewarded with a three-year contract which he already signed, making him unable to return to UP in their quest of reclaiming UAAP glory after losing at the hands of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles last season.
Since winning the UAAP Rookie of the Year award during his first year as a Fighting Maroon, several teams from Japan and Korea already set their sights and offered Tamayo a chance to play overseas.
However, Tamayo refused at the beginning and kept his promise to the whole UP community that he will return and help the Fighting Maroons win their second title in a row.
Despite the loss in the finals, Tamayo still had a stellar UAAP Season 85 after being named to the Mythical Team, his second award in his collegiate career.
Tamayo’s draft stock also rose after putting up a terrific streak of games for the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball during the past three FIBA Asia qualifying windows.
The Cebuano star was a part of the Tab Baldwin-led roster and was also acquired by current head coach Chot Reyes during the last FIBA window.
During his 11 FIBA games, Tamayo averaged 8.3 points and 3.7 rebounds including back-to-back wins against South Korea in the 2021 edition of the qualifiers.
The Golden Kings will also be expecting the same numbers from Tamayo as the basketball club is gunning for a championship title this season.
Ryukyu is one of the winningest basketball clubs in the B. League and is now at the third spot of the overall rankings with a 21-7 win-loss record.
Tamayo will be joining a talented Ryukyu squad led by former Meralco Bolts import Allen Durham, Jack Cooley, Keita Imamura, Josh Duncan, and Ryuichi Kishimoto.