Cebuano forward Carl Tamayo showed the rest of the Philippines that he belongs on the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team as he made big plays down the stretch in their 81-78 victory over South Korea in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Playing just 10 minutes, the 6-foot-7 forward from Talisay City made the most out of every single one as he scored 10 points to help the Gilas come back from a 17-point deficit and win the game thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by SJ Belangel.
More than the number of points that Tamayo scored was how he went about it. He entered the game in the first and immediately went to work, scoring on a drive and later, swishing a triple, to help the Gilas stay afloat despite Korea’s early scoring binge. Then, thrust onto the floor in a tight game, Tamayo converted two key baskets, including a tough fadeaway jumper that gave the Gilas a 68-64 lead at the midway point of the fourth.
Korea, though, was able to come back and tie the game at 78-all with 2.9 seconds to go. It was then that Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin called a timeout and set a play up for Tamayo to receive the ball in the shaded lane.
“It was multi-optional but the primary option we wanted was to get Carl Tamayo under the basket with the ball on a direct entry pass from Dwight,” Baldwin revealed during the postgame presser.
However, Tamayo was well-defended by Korea’s naturalized player, Ricardo Ratcliffe, forcing the inbounder to get the ball to Belangel who banked in the game-winner.
Still, Tamayo’s debut was an impressive one and the Cebuano will be looking to play some more when the Gilas takes on Indonesia on Friday. (JNP)