WITH an expected leap from his national team stint, Carl Tamayo looms as the favorite to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) plum when University of the Philippines shoots for a successful title defense in the UAAP Season 85 firing off tomorrow.
Mr. Tamayo, fresh from consecutive international stints with Gilas Pilipinas, has been declared by coaches to be at the forefront of the UAAP MVP derby with La Salle’s Mike Phillips and reigning MVP Ange Kouame of Ateneo in the mix.
But as huge of a feat it would be for the versatile 6-foot-7 cager only in his second year, ensuring that the UAAP crown stays in Diliman remains his lone, ultimate goal over any possible individual recognition.
“The goal is just to win the championship all the time, that’s the only goal,” vowed Mr. Tamayo after being hailed as Season 84’s Rookie of the Year.
Mr. Tamayo last season took the UAAP by storm with averages of 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals to win the ROY award and a Mythical Five citation as UP dethroned Ateneo for its first title in 36 years.
This year, those numbers are expected to only increase following a fruitful trip with Gilas in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup and the fourth window of 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which he’s hoping to carry over to the UAAP.
Tamayo’s meteoric rise also led to some rumors that he might be the next rising star set for an overseas stint but for now, the Cebu native assured that he will play nowhere else but in Diliman.
“I’m just focusing on UP, trying to help the team to win the championship again. I’ll never close my door to play abroad. But for now, I’m here in UP, to play in UP,” he vowed as UP opens its campaign against La Salle tomorrow. — John Bryan Ulanday