KIB Montalbo is ready to take on the challenge of earning a spot in a TNT backcourt rotation teeming with talent.
The former La Salle standout is just one of the several guards the KaTropa signed up after agreeing to an 18-month contract. He sees the tight battle for spots as a positive, saying that every spot shoulb be earned, not given.
“It’s competition,” said Montalbo. “Nasa basketball world kami. Kahit saan naman, mapa-college man ‘yan o semi-pro o pro, eventually may mga players talaga na ka-posisyon mo. You just have to work sa practice.”
At the end of the day, Montalbo said the battle for roster spots will only have a positive effect on the team.
“Healthy ‘yan eh. Healthy competition ‘yan eh. We push each other to our limits and we just want to win the championship,” said Montalbo.
To gain an edge, Montalbo said he needs to bulk up.
“So far, it’s been good. Iba ‘yung competition. Have to step up my game and got to get bigger. ‘Yung mga kalaban ko na point guards, parang kapag iko-compare mo kami, skinny ako compared sa kanila,” said Montalbo.
Like all the players who reached the PBA level, Montalbo said making the pros is a dream come true. He also admitted being starstruck in the presence of TNT’s chief guard Jayson Castro, one of the best point guards in Asia.
“It feels surreal na I’m living my dream. This is my dream since I was a kid. Making the most out of it,” said Montalbo.
On Castro, Montalbo said: “Ayoko namang maging starstruck pero parang hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na that’s a possibility [playing alongside Castro]. I don’t place it in my head though. I just come to practice everyday, just work hard and try to improve every game.”
Known as ‘Man of Steal’ during his time with La Salle, Montalbo said he is determined to make a mark on the defensive side, as emphasized by TNT active consultant Mark Dickel and head coach Bong Ravena.
“I like the defensive mindset of the team. We’ll keep on working,” said Montalbo.