CARL Tamayo may be looked at as one of the top recruits to come out of high school, but the University of the Philippines rookie could attest that he wouldn't be in this position if not for one man.
That man was his former coach Goldwin Monteverde.
"Sobrang importante ni coach Gold sa akin kasi hindi naman ako magiging Carl Tamayo kundi dahil kay coach eh," he told The Prospects Pod.
Monteverde, then the head coach for the Adamson Baby Falcons, was the one to discover the 6-foot-8 banger from Talisay, Cebu and invested in his potential.
"Hindi talaga ako nagbabasketball. Billiards lang ang nilalaro ko. Bigla na lang sumulpot sa akin yung basketball, pero nakita ko yung growth ko, yung improvement ko nung na kay coach Gold ako," he said.
When Monteverde left for National University-Nazareth School, Tamayo joined him and turned into one of the most intriguing talents in the amateur ranks today.
But it wasn't without its struggles. Tamayo noted that the Bullpups' road to dominance was all forged through hardwork and sacrifice.
"Nung simula, nahihirapan kami kasi yung isa't isa kaya maglaro, kaya umiscore, at kaya yung iba't ibang gawin. Pero kinausap kami ni coach Gold na para mabuo yung chemistry namin, dapat kung ano yung role na ibinigay sa amin, dapat mag-step down kami sa gusto namin kasi doon lang mabubuo yung team," he said.
"Hindi naman pwede na gusto niyo manalo pero iba-iba kayo ng paraan. Hindi magkakatugma, hindi rin mae-execute, so dapat iisa lang yung isip. Tinrain lang nila kami ng tinrain na dapat baguhin (yung mindset namin) and after ilang years ng pagsasama namin, nakuha naman namin."
To Monteverde, being good isn't good enough as he wanted his NU side to achieve greatness everytime it took the floor.
Tamayo even recounted an instance last season where saw this drive, that after a lackluster first half against La Salle-Zobel, the Bullpups just turned it up in the second half.
"May game kami noon against La Salle and yung defense namin, walang discipline. Sundot dito, sundot doon, walang close out hard," he said as a strong second half spurred NU to take the 100-76 second round victory.
"The next day sabi ni coach Gold, kung ilan yung pinalusot niyo at pina-shoot niyo sa harapan niyo, tatakbuhin natin. Napakadami naming tinakbo and nakita ko lahat ng teammates ko na wala talagang sumuko and pinu-push talaga nila. Doon ako na-inspire na itong team na ito, iba ito kasi kahit gaano kahirap, walang sumuko."
"Maraming tao kasi nakikita yung pag-champion lang namin. Masaya kami pero behind the scenes, grabe yung napakahirap na pinagdaanan namin. Yung iba, nag-sacrifice ng playing time nila at alam nila kung anong role nila pag pinasok sila."
Those lessons are what sticks to Tamayo even as he moves from Jhocson to Diliman.
Yet the 19-year-old center said that it's not all on the hardcourt, with Monteverde also influencing his approach to life.
"Ang laki ng binago ni coach Gold sa akin, hindi lang bilang basketball player kundi pati yung pagkatao ko, kung paano rumespeto ng tao, at kung paano makisama ng tao," he said.
"Pinaka-natutunan ko sa kanya yung buhay, paano makitungo sa buhay, paano lumaban sa hirap ng buhay. Yung basketball, mahirap siya matutunan, pero ang laging nire-remind sa akin ni coach Gold is kung paano ka maging mabuting tao sa ibang tao."
That's why it's a bittersweet feeling for Tamayo to leave the NU camp and spread his wings elsewhere.
"Yun ang mahirap kasi siya na ang naging coach ko since natuto ako mag-basketball eh. Parang tatay na namin yan eh lahat ng problema namin lumalapit kami sa kanya, kung ano yung nagba-bother sa amin, siya ang lalapitan namin," he said. "Pero excited ako makalaro kasi it’s my rookie year. Gusto ko mag-learn ng marami para after my rookie year, alam ko paano maglaro sa collegiate basketball and makapag-adjust ako agad."