WITHOUT a doubt, Carl Tamayo was one of the breakout stars of Gilas Pilipinas in the last few Fiba windows.
Showing maturity beyond his years, the 6-foot-7 banger averaged 8.0 points on a perfect 3-of-3 clip from deep, to go with 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, and 1.0 steal in his 11.6 minutes through two games in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers.
He sustained that solid play in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade as well as the King Abdullah Cup in Jordan.
No wonder Fighting Maroons benefactor and Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla is heaping praises on the school's prized recruit, who he considers a generational talent and likened to another UP great.
"I can honestly say that Carl is the most talented basketball player to come out of high school in the last 35 years," he said during a Sandwich Sessions with Summit Media editors and writers on Tuesday.
"Not since Benjie Paras have we seen such a package that Carl offers and has shown at such a young age."
Remulla was still a freshman at UP when the Joe Lipa-mentored Fighting Maroons recruited Paras, a 6-foot-4 center from the decorated San Beda high school program back in 1986.
We all know what happened then, with Paras, Eric Altamirano, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Joey Guanio delivering UP's only league championshipin UAAP Season 49.
Three decades later and it seemed like lightning once again struck in Diliman as UP pried away Tamayo, as well as fellow bluechip recruits Gerry Abadiano and Terrence Fortea from another powerhouse juniors program at National University-Nazareth School.
And just like what happened in the 1980s, Remulla is expecting a UAAP title to come soon.
Make that, titles.
"I think he will be part of a UP championship run of at least three trophies, with him leading the charge," Remulla said, anointing Tamayo as the next big thing to come from UP.
Remulla, however, understands that achieving glory cannot be done by one star player, as he also expects big things from the rest of the Fighting Maroons.
"One man doesn't make a team. The good thing is that he has a fantastic supporting cast around him," he said, citing Fortea, senior Ricci Rivero, transferee CJ Cansino, Senegalese center Malick Diouf, and guard Joel Cagulangan, who Remulla described as "one of the best underutilized point guards in the country."
"I think we really have a good shot," he said.