Tamayo confident on UP's title-retention bid despite being in unfamiliar territory

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Tamayo confident on UP's title-retention bid despite being in unfamiliar territory
Carl Tamayo

MANILA, Philippines — The UP Fighting Maroons find themselves in a very peculiar position in UAAP Season 85.

For the first time since 1986, the Diliman-based squad will be heading into the men's basketball tournament as defending champions after ending a decades-long UAAP title drought earlier this year.

Having been chasing the title for so long, it can be easy to lose their balance on the summit of the UAAP — especially if they aren't use to being the ones on top.

But Season 84 rookie of the year Carl Tamayo said that UP is well aware of what it takes to keep the crown in Diliman.

Knowing the work that they did to finally get over the hump in his rookie year, Tamayo said they just need to replicate their efforts to come up with the same result.

"Syempre, na-realize namin what it takes being a champion. The hard work we put ino during the bubble. The sacrifices na binigay namin," Tamayo said during the UAAP Season 85 media conference on Wednesday.

"Nakita namin ang kailangan naming gawin na trabaho na kailangan namin para makuha namin ang championship. Lahat ng sakripisyo may bunga," he added.

The big man also shrugged off the pressure coming with his role on the team getting larger as the new season looms.

With CJ Cansino sidelined with injury and UP losing Ricci Rivero and Noah Webb to graduation, Tamayo said he simply needs to give whatever the team asks of him without anything else on his mind -- even individual awards like league MVP.

"Hindi naman ito tungkol sa akin, 16 kaming maglalaro this upcoming season. Kung ano maitutulong ko sa team, kung anong role ang ibibgay sa akin ni coach para maipanalo ang game. It might be rebounding, defense. Yun naman ang gagawin ko," said Tamayo.

Tamayo joins key holdovers for the UP Fighting Maroons in their quest for back-to-back UAAP crowns, such as Zavier Lucero, James Spencer and JD Cagulangan, among others.




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