KQ showed out when it mattered the most.
Days after receiving his season MVP plum, Kevin Quiambao hoisted the UAAP Season 86 championship trophy on Wednesday at the jam-packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It didn’t come easy of course.
Limited to just 10 points per game in the first two games of the series, Quiambao poured in 24 points, including 10 in the fourth period as the De La Salle Green Archers came away with a cardiac 73-69 win against the UP Fighting Maroons in Game 3.
He was also adjudged Finals MVP.
Incidentally, the last MVP to win a championship was La Salle reinforcement Ben Mbala in 2016.
“Sinasabi nga lagi ni coach lagi sa ’min na ‘wala ng bukas. Isipin mo gold lahat ng possession.’ Tinrabaho lang namin,” he said after the match witnessed by a record 25,192 screaming fans.
As one of the leaders of the team under first-year coach Topex Robinson, the do-it-all forward knew he had to conjure some magic. And he did.
His best play, ironically, was a defensive one. When Gerry Abadiano slipped past him in the dying minutes, Quiambao, desperate to atone for a turnover in the previous possession, refused to give up and blocked the shot.
“Nagkamali ako, nag-turnover ako pero bumawi agad ako. Good thing nakuha namin championship,” he said.
In a season that started with championship expectations, Quiambao and the Green Archers delivered.
And they owe a lot of it to their MVP.