AFTER patiently riding the bench in the early part of the season, highly recruited guard Kib Montalbo is slowly but surely gaining a place in De La Salle's backcourt rotation.
The Bacolod high school star has been repaying La Salle coach Juno Sauler’s faith, playing quality minutes for the Green Archers in their recent climb up the standings that saw them win three straight games for a 6-4 win-loss slate.
Montalbo has averaged 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in his last three games while his playing time rose from 3.3 minutes in three games in the first round to 15 minutes a game as he shared playmaking duties with LA Revilla after starter Thomas Torres went out with an illness.
“I just stepped up,” Montalbo said. “Wala si Thomas so we need to step up. Siyempre kinuha nila ako so I have to show my talent. Tinutulungan naman ako ni coach.”
Though he has been eased into the rotation for now, Montalbo says he really wouldn’t mind if he plays behind his seniors this season, vowing to simply be ready to deliver when called upon.
“Coach said that I will have to be ready always. Kaya kahit hindi ako pinapasok, ready talaga ako maglaro. If he calls my name, ready talaga ako,” said Montalbo.
Sauler believes that Montalbo's time will come.
“Kib can play,” Sauler said. “The only problem is in the rotation, we have LA and Thomas. But he is as good as LA and Thomas. The preparations started when he set foot in La Salle.”
Montalbo also said one of the key factors for La Salle's rise has been its renewed commitment to defense.
“We struggled before because of our defense. Coach has been so hard on us on defense so it paid off,” Montalbo said.