KIB Montalbo will be the first to admit that he’s been playing below his standards this season in his final year for La Salle.
Known for his tenacity on defense and his playmaking, Montalbo’s performance has been sub-par this season as a left thumb injury has hampered Montalbo’s season.
However, in their crucial clash against the FEU Tamaraws, Montalbo was delighted to finally contribute to the game the only way he knows how.
“Kib was trying to put everybody on the same page. Especially when they made that 10-0 run, dun lumabas yung leadership ni Kib,” said coach Louie Gonazalez after their 65-57 win over the Tamaraws.
“As a senior, alam niya napakaimportante ng laro na ito for the team and for him.”
Struggling to find his rhythm for most of the season, Montalbo made sure to focus on the things that made him so valuable for La Salle.
“I answered his (Louie Gonzalez) call, grace of God lang nakalaro ako cause I’ve been playing like tae. For this season, may naginterview sakin na numbers are down, sabi ko yeah numbers are down. I said na well, kahit my numbers are down I should make sure that the leadership is still there, contribute things that aren’t in the statsheet,” he added.
His thumb has been a bother for him this season that Montalbo was forced to change his shot in order to stroke better.
Before the FEU game, Montakbo was shooting 1-17 from the three point area, so he started working out with coach Siot Tanquincen to try and change that shot moving forward.
“Chinange ko yung shooting form ko para lang makashoot. Atleast nakashoot ako kanina. I was 1/17 before this game, five percent. Masama talaga,” Montalbo said.
“This week lang, tinignan ko yung stats ko, sabi ko 1-17 di talaga ako makashoot, kasi tumatama siya e, may something ako rito so, it’s hard, para akong grade one ulit, good thing rhythm lang. Tinutulungan ako ni coach Siot everytime I’m frustrated tulungan lang. In the end, 13 lang kami diyan magtutulungan,” he added.
Montalbo’s numbers weren’t necessarily eye popping as he finished with seven points, four assists and two steals but it was his intensity on the defensive end and his leadership which turned out to be the game-changer.
“Siguro I just answered the call of this team. This team needs a leader. May mindset was, pag ligo ko kanina, sabi ko we can do this. It’s a big game e. I know what’s at stake here, and yun ang kailangan ni coach, he needs a leader inside the court.”