FIBA: Carl Tamayo shrugs off ankle sprain, delivers for Gilas

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 12:21 PM

UP's Carl Tamayo just missed out on a double-double in their win against India on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
UP's Carl Tamayo just missed out on a double-double in their win against India on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- Carl Tamayo was not about to let a sprained ankle stop him from suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas, especially as they were playing in front of their home crowd.

The University of the Philippines (UP) big man had to be helped off the court at the EventFinda Stadium in Auckland last Thursday, having collided with New Zealand's Tom Vodanovich in the fourth quarter of their game.

Head coach Nenad Vučinić said after the game -- a 106-60 defeat for the Philippines -- that Tamayo was questionable to play against India in what would be Gilas' last game of the first round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Not only did Tamayo play on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena, he also delivered a near double-double of nine points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes, as Gilas came away with a 79-63 triumph.

"Kahit na medyo in pain, nag-suit up ako," Tamayo said afterward. "Sabi ko sa sarili ko, hindi ako magra-rason. Talagang maglalaro ako, kasi kailangan ako ng team. Kulang kami ng player."

Gilas was already playing without naturalized center Ange Kouame, who is recovering from a knee injury and will be unavailable for the FIBA Asia Cup as well. Also out for the foreseeable future is swingman Dave Ildefonso, who also sustained a knee injury.

Had Tamayo sat out against India, the Philippines would have had only nine players in their rotation. They were already playing with a size disadvantage as the visitors featured 7-foot-2 center, 19-year-old Aryan, a product of the NBA Academy in India.

"Talang nag-suit up ako," said Tamayo. "It doesn't matter kung may sprain 'yung ankle ko o hindi."

The sacrifice was worth it for the young forward as Gilas snapped a string of losses to end the first round of the qualifiers on a strong note. 

"Tatlong sunod na talo na kami, simula noong Korea," said Tamayo, referring to their back-to-back defeats to South Korea in tune-up games before they absorbed their huge defeat to New Zealand last week.

"As you can see, ang dami pa naming kailangang improvement as a team," he added. "[Pero] masaya pa rin. Kahit anong sabihin, panalo pa rin ang nakuha namin."

Tamayo is expected to be part of the Gilas team that will compete in Indonesia for the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 starting on July 12.