July 22, 2024

Gilas: Tim Cone likens Carl Tamayo to former Purefoods champion

Gilas: Tim Cone likens Carl Tamayo to former Purefoods champion
Carl Tamayo averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in two games of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers. | Photo (c) FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone has emphasized in the past how the Philippine men's national basketball team needs not just skilled veterans, but young blood as well to keep the program moving forward.

That's why this iteration of Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, as well as the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga, has 22-year-old Kai Sotto, as well as 23-year-olds Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo. All three were born after the year 2000.

Funny enough, the young Tamayo reminds Cone of someone who's much older--43 years old in fact.

"Carl reminds me a lot... actually reminds me a lot of Kerby Raymundo, believe or not," Cone said in an interview with Carlo Pamintuan last month. "He's got that same kind of skill level where there's really very little he can't do."

A four-time PBA champion and the 2002 Governors' Cup Finals MVP, Raymundo was a key part of the Purefoods' title runs with the trio of James Yap, Peter June Simon, and Marc Pingris.

And Cone was right there to witness it all.

Now, the PBA's winningest tactician is seeing the same shades of blue and white with the 6-foot-8 Tamayo.

"He just needs to harness it all again. He's young. He needs to harness it and kind of throw it all in one direction, and that's going to come with maturity," Cone noted. "Another reason why he's on this team, you know, he could be our our superstar in 2027 or 2028 by that time. He's just going to be coming into his prime."

Tamayo has been exposed pretty well in the international scene, having played for the Gilas Youth program for both the 2018 FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup and the 2019 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup.

He was also part of the last OQT squad under Tab Baldwin in 2020, when they very nearly upset powerhouse squad Serbia. The UP Fighting Maroon then suited up for other senior basketball competitions such as the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup and the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

  

Carl Tamayo averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in two games of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers.

  

He continued to embrace the international scene, playing for the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the Japan B.League and the EASL, before moving to the Changwon LG Sakers in the Korean Basketball League.

[ALSO READ: Carl Tamayo headed to KBL to play with Changwon LG Sakers

  

Cone hopes to hone Tamayo further when it comes to defense.

"We will really push them on the defensive side," he said. "Carl loves to play defense and he just gets a little too excited. But when he harnesses that great energy, he's going to be special."

Gilas Pilipinas will train starting June 21 for the FIBA OQT next month. Only the winner of the Riga tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

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