UP-AND-DOWN may Carl Tamayo's season be, but the cream always rises to the top.
And when it mattered the most, he would still be one of those at the forefront for Nazareth School of National University.
Tamayo steered NU to a 64-53 Game Two win on Friday to sweep defending champion Ateneo and claim the UAAP Season 81 title, its first championship in three years.
"Gusto ko lang talaga manalo kahit anong mangyari," said the 18-year-old slotman. "Di nashu-shoot ang mga tira ko at marami akong namintis, pero di ako tumitigil kasi hangga’t di pa natatapos ang laro, hindi ako tumitigil."
Tamayo's performance was a fitting end to his roller-coaster ride that saw the Batang Gilas stalwart play through a right ankle sprain all-season long.
Averaging 11.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in the eliminations, the 6-foot-8 slotman hiked his numbers when the lights are at their brightest, notching 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in the two-game championship series.
But more than the numbers, Tamayo's presence, coupled with that of frontcourt partner Kevin Quiambao, was the perfect foil to that of Kai Sotto of Ateneo on his way to being named as the Finals MVP.
"Syempre perseverance lang," he said after posting 13 points and 10 rebounds in the clincher.
"Sobrang hirap noong pinagdaanan ko. Hindi ko makuha yung kundisyon kasi panay injury ako. Pero hindi ako tumigil hangga't hindi namin nakukuha yung goal namin. Di ko naman inisip na makakakuha ako ng Finals MVP. Ang importante sa akin ay makakuha ng championship."
And that's what it's all about for Tamayo, to see NU achieve the goal it set itself for, a rightful fruit to all of his and his team's labor all-year long.
"Behind all this success, ang dami naming pinagdaanan na struggles, yung fatigue sa court. Yung lahat ng pinagdaanan namin, sobrang hirap. Pero ngayon na nakuha na namin itong goal namin, sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam na nakuha yung pinaghirapan," he said.