By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons’ campaign to reclaim glory in the next UAAP men’s basketball season just received a huge blow after superstar Carl Tamayo confirmed his departure from the team last January 10, 2023.
In a lengthy post on his official Instagram account, the former UAAP Rookie of the Year thanked the whole Fighting Maroons community and announced that he will be making his debut in the next playing season of the Japan B. League.
“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 wrote in his social media post.
Tamayo was one of the pillars of UP’s redemption squad during the past two UAAP seasons when the Fighting Maroons finally ended its 36-year losing spell and won the championship title against the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles.
It was Tamayo’s rookie season when the Fighting Maroons did the unthinkable, playing like a veteran against the more experienced UAAP players in the collegiate division.
Despite failing to win another UAAP title last Season 85, Tamayo and UP still kept their heads up after qualifying in the grand finals for the second-straight time.
Tamayo was impressive in all the games he played for the Fighting Maroons, averaging 13.08 points and 7.36 rebounds in 36 games.
His hoops prowess at such a young age urged the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team to recruit him when the coaching staff was still under head coach Tab Baldwin.
Tamayo was still chosen to be a part of the national team despite the coaching reigns taken over by coach Chot Reyes from Baldwin a year ago.
“To the UP community and to the team’s fans, salamat kayo. 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,” continued Tamayo.