Carl Tamayo, UP Fighting Maroons
#33 Carl Tamay of the UP Fighting Maroons during UAAP Season 85. UAAP Media Bureau


  • Carl Tamayo is continuing his march atop the Philippines collegiate basketball scene
  • The UP Fighting Maroons have been relying on Tamayo to power their offense
  • Tamayo is already being pegged for a stint overseas after the season ends

College basketball in the Philippines is starting to enter the peak of its popularity as the 85th season of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) kickstarts in a few days as the second round of eliminations is set to determine who will complete the Final Four.

The Top Three currently features the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, the National University (NU) Bulldogs, and the defending champions in the form of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons.

For UP, they were forced to close the two-round elimination portion of Season 85 with a loss against archrival Ateneo in what many fans saw as an upset.

However, the Fighting Maroons still have an ace up their sleeve against those who would dare count them out entering the Final Four, and someone who has been the subject of becoming the next young Filipino player to take his talents abroad, in the form of Carl Tamayo.

A native of Talisay City, Cebu in the Philippines, Tamayo has proven himself to be the Fighting Maroons' No. 1 weapon throughout much of Season 85.

Tamayo, 21, had put up stellar numbers in round one as UP's big man after tallying 14.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, two assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.43 blocks in about 25.7 minutes per game out of a possible 40.

Whether scoring on putbacks, in isolation, or in plays designed for him, Tamayo had showcased a growing offensive arsenal that has him in the running to be the local college basketball scene's biggest star in the new generation.

But last season's UAAP Rookie of the Year slowed down in the second round as he only recorded 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, one assist, 0.5 steals, and no blocks.

The lack of blocks is concerning for a forward looking to take the next big step in his career, but it should be noted at this point that the Fighting Maroons need him more on the offensive side of things.

Tamayo can thank the efforts of defensive aces Zavier Lucero and James Spencer to help him keep his focus on getting buckets.

James Spencer, UP Fighting Maroons
#3 James Spencer of the UP Fighting Maroons UAAP Media Bureau

UP has been a massive force of nature entering Season 85 after reclaiming the UAAP collegiate basketball title for the first time since 1986 back in Season 49.

To close out the first round, Tamayo helped pace the Fighting Maroons to a 6-1 record, but they saw two losses in the second round–one to the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers and one to the ADMU Blue Eagles.

The Fighting Maroons had kept in pace with the Blue Eagles for the better part of their matchup last Saturday, November 26, but the mind games and even scoring across the board for the Blue Eagles saw them drop their third game of the season for an overall record of 11-3.

Tamayo continued to earn the respect of both Blue Eagles supporters and collegiate basketball pundits as he carried the Fighting Maroons for 27 minutes with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds–both of which were team highs.

Scoring buckets from inside the paint, off his teammates' misses while swishing home two triples, Tamayo was giving it his all.

It is worth noting that he did have a couple of defensive lapses during this game, particularly in the Blue Eagles' first possession in the fourth quarter.

However, one can chalk it up to him being overly focused on containing Season 84 MVP Ange Kouame.

The young forward's game is so refined at this point that talk of him going to South Korea and playing in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) as an import is a very concrete possibility as early as next season if the hush-hush rumors are to be believed.

Should he decide to take that massive step for his career, he will be joining fellow UAAP alums SJ Belangel and Rhon Jhay Abarrientos in Korea as they look to banner the future of Philippines basketball.

However, thoughts of such possibilities should wait until the offseason as the Fighting Maroons have more pressing matters at hand, namely defending their place atop collegiate basketball in the Philippines.

Carl Tamayo, UP Fighting Maroons
#32 Carl Tamayo of the UP Fighting Maroons fires a shot over #34 Ange Kouame of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. UAAP Media Bureau