April 14, 2024

Rookie champion Carl Tamayo looks forward to defending Japan B.League title

Rookie champion Carl Tamayo looks forward to defending Japan B.League title
Ryukyu Golden Kings

Ryukyu Golden Kings has always been touted as one of the contenders in the Japan B.League. When they finished atop the West District with a 48-12 card, the Golden Kings only solidified their status as championship material.

When they advanced to the finals, however, they faced the league-leading Chiba Jets. Holding a 53-7 record, the Jets were a real threat to the aspirations of the gold-and-white squad.

Yet, Ryukyu swept Chiba in their best-of-three finals series. The Golden Kings, which feature former Meralco Bolts import and eventual Finals MVP Allen Durham alongside UP Fighting Maroons alum Carl Tamayo, won Game 1 in double overtime and dominated in Game 2 with a 15-point win.

“We worked hard for this, the team deserves it, we’re happy,” Tamayo said through the league’s official Facebook page, underscoring the efforts their team made this year.

It was extra sweet for the two-time UAAP Mythical Team member, who officially joined Ryukyu in February, as he gets to enjoy a championship in just his first year as a pro.

“It’s my first ring and as a rookie, too. I’m very happy to have this experience,” added Tamayo. “I’m just happy for the team.”

The 6-foot-7 big man averaged 2.7 points and 1.3 rebounds over eight minutes of playing time per contest this season. He, however, hardly saw action in the playoffs where coaches usually shorten their rotations.

But Tamayo is all smiles. After all, he has won titles in various levels. He was a high school champ with the NU Bullpups, he captured another title in college with UP, and then now in the pros, he's once again a champion with Ryukyu.

He actually has sights on another title next year.

“Looking forward to the next season. Hopefully, we win the championship again and I’ll be able to help the team.”

There’s nowhere to go but up for Carl.