Gilas prospect Carl Tamayo, 17, turns heads as he holds ground against Akhuetie and Co.
Carl Tamayo has two more years to sharpen his game in high school but already holds his own against top college big men. Jerome Ascano

HE has two more years left to play in high school, yet Gilas Pilipinas cadet Carl Tamayo is already standing his ground against the big boys.

The 6-foot-7 NU Bullpups recruit played quality minutes and held his own against the likes of University of the Philippines’ highly touted foreign recruit Bright Akhuetie and workhorse Jerson Prado.

He finished with seven points in 13 minutes of action as a starter, and ended up one of the few bright spots in a Gilas cadets' 72-78 loss to the Maroons in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup on Tuesday.

"It's a great experience for me na naka-match up ko yung mga imports ng iba’t ibang school. Malaking exposure sa akin yun. Marami akong natutunan dun," said the 17-year-old.

Not only did the former UAAP juniors Rookie of the Year experience banging bodies with grown men, he's also learning a lot being the youngest in the team.

"Natututunan ko yung patience sa laro. Yung maging hard worker sa game. Marami kami na-learn na mga adjustments, paano namin naha-handle yung ball game," said Tamayo, a transferee from Adamson.

Knowing that opportunities like this do not come very often, Tamayo promises to make the exposure count especially as he's set to be eligible to play next season, setting an intriguing face-off with fellow Gilas cadet Kai Sotto of Ateneo.

"Laking exposure sa akin. College team ang kalaban namin, may minutes naman ako maglaro, so marami talagang akong natutunan," said Tamayo. "Every opportunity counts."

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