KIB Montalbo couldn't care less on what the doctors or his parents say. All he wants is to play.
“I just really want to play. That’s the bottomline,” he said. “Maraming hindi sang-ayon na lumaro ako, pati parents ko hindi sang-ayon pero I said I’m gonna take that risk.”
Given four to six weeks of recovery time, Montalbo went to war after just two as he bucked his fractured left thumb and made his return in La Salle’s game against Ateneo on Sunday.
“Naka-two weeks na siya eh. Dati hindi ko talaga magalaw, hindi ko ma-move. Pero nagagalaw ko na, di ko lang siya ma-bend kaya lalaro na ako,” he said, fighting through the pain to fulfill his duties as the team captain and one of the squad’s lead playmakers.
“It’s my last year and I don’t want that an injury would determine my season, sabi ko kay coach. Di ko kaya na nakaupo lang eh. Kahit tiga-dala lang ng bola, set the tone for our team, especially having a young team. Alam kong mahihirapan talaga but we’ll get there. Little imporvements should be made.”
Montalbo did what he could in his 24 minutes on the floor, scoring four points, grabbing three rebounds, and an assist as well as showing how badly he wanted to help the team win and diving for the ball at one sequence in the fourth period.
“Kahit injury pa ako dyan, magda-dive ako. I dove kanina with my fractured hand. Masakit siya pero wala eh, I just want to play for La Salle,” he said as the Green Archers suffered a 71-55 defeat to the Blue Eagles to drop to an even 3-3 record in UAAP Season 81.
Despite the loss, the Ilonggo dribbler braving through his injury did give the La Salle the emotional boost it needed.
“Of course, si Kib yun eh,” said Aljun Melecio. “Iba yung energy and yung tulong na binibigay ni Kib sa court. Di pa siya 100-percent, pero proud ako sa puso na lumaban siya.”
Though still on his way to recovery, Montalbo promises that this won’t be a one-off as he seeks to continue playing for La Salle, no matter how tough it is.
And he hopes to help La Salle bounce back as it ends the first round against Adamson on Saturday.
“You’ll expect me to play my hearts out sa La Salle buong season. Tapilok or anything na ayokong mangyari, God-willing, I will play,” he said. “Sa grace Niya lang na nakapaglaro ako. Parang sa tapilok, ipapagpag ko lang. I just want to play.”