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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Tamayo back in action for UP against Ateneo in Game 1

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Big man Carl Tamayo will be back on the floor when the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons takes on the Ateneo Blue Eagles in Game 1 of their best-of-three finals series on Sunday in the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.

The 6’6” Tamayo has quickly recovered from a slight injury and is expected to once lead UP’s quest to retain its crown when the action starts at 6 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Hindi naman ganun kagrabe. He’ll be ready for the next game,” said Fighting Maroons coach Goldwin Monteverde after their 69-61 triumph over the third-seed National University Bulldogs in their Final Four showdown last Wednesday.

Averaging 13.26 points and 7.26 rebounds per game, Tamayo’s presence underneath with Zavier Lucero gave the Fighting Maroons the muscles they need to keep up Blue Eagle Angelo Kouame’s imposing presence.

The Blue Eagles, who are on their 15th finals appearance in the last 21 seasons, will count on their bigs, Dave Ildefonso and Kouame in their effort to take control of the boards.

Ildefonso provides an average of 12 points and 8.35 rebounds per game, while Kouame delivers 11.6 points and 11.33 boards per match.

Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin is wary of the Fighting Maroons, believing that they have more experience this time around.

“That Ateneo team in May had a lot more experience than this team. But I think this team(UP) has the DNA of underdogs, and I don’t think the team in May did,” said Baldwin.

This will be the second consecutive championship showdown between the two squads, a faceoff known as “the Battle of Katipunan” finals.

UP, which earned their second consecutive finals appearance, for the first time in league history, also has Malick Diouf giving them big numbers with 11.26 points and 8.13 rebounds.

The Blue Eagles are now in their sixth consecutive finals appearance, which is considered the school’s longest overall championship appearance streak in the league.

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