NAZARETH School of National University big men Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao were the huge problems for Kai Sotto and Ateneo de Manila after dominating Game One of the UAAP Season 81 juniors’ basketball Finals.
Tamayo and Quiambao combined for 29 points and 25 rebounds to power the Bullpups in beating the Eaglets, 70-58, and draw the first blood in their best-of-three title series on Monday at the Arena in San Juan City.
They also limited the touches of 7-foot-1 Sotto, who only had two points in the fourth quarter —coming from two split free throws — and had 16 points in the game on seven-of-16 shooting.
Tamayo, who had 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in Game One, said that they always have to think that they are better than Sotto to limit their rival.
“Hindi naman pwede isipin na mas magaling siya samin eh. Pag laro, laro kami. Lagi namin nasa isip na kailangan namin siya i-stop para manalo yung team,” said Tamayo. “Score nandyan na yan pero ang pinaka mindset namin i-stop siya para mabawasan score ng team niya.”
Quiambao, who also had a double-double, 14 points and 13 boards, agreed.
“Pag depensa, depensa lang talaga nasa isip ko. And iniisip ko talaga istop ko si Kai kasi siya yung main scorer ng Ateneo,” the 6-foot-8 center said. “Sa akin iniisip ko lang kailangan ako sa team. Yung contribution ko at yung presence ko sa loob ng court kailangan nandun kaya ginawa ko na lang yung trabaho ko.”
In fact, Tamayo admitted that he hurt his foot in the second half after falling down from Geo Chiu’s challenge on his three-point attempt but he played through the pain.
“Andun yung gusto kong manalo kahit may pain. Wala ng kwenta yung pain kasi gusto ko manalo eh. Kahit masakit pipilitin ko maglaro para manalo kami,” said the 6-foot-7 big man, who alo had a pair of triples in the match.
The Bullpups are just a win away from exacting a sweet revenge on the team that took them down in last year’s Finals. But the NU bigs won’t be complacent heading into the Season 81 Finals Game Two on Friday.
“Masaya pero hindi pa namin nakuha yung main goal bale wala rin yun if di namin makuha yung goal namin,” Tamayo said. “Good job pa rin samin pero di pa tapos yung laro.”
“Ako naisip ko mas mababawi sila sa Game Two. Siyempre magpprepare kami and kung ano ginawa ko ngayon mas hihigatan ko pa and stay present lang ako,” Quiambao added.