MANILA, Philippines—Kevin Quiambao was quick to pin his struggles on rookie jitters.
The crafty La Salle forward finished with five points, four rebounds and four assists in the Green Archers’ 72-69 loss to defending champion University of the Philippines Saturday night.
“The start to my season was bad,” he told reporters in Filipino at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. “I guess I’ll just have to treat this as a lesson.”
He also took it flush on the chin, even poking fun at himself.
“I was so excited even during warmups,” Quiambao said. “That feeling of getting back? It’s like whenever you ride an airplane. I still have jet lags from our high school season. I was so excited that I wasn’t able to [apply] the system coach asked me to do.”
Quiambao, whose national team stint preceded his varsity gig, said that he has a long journey ahead of him with La Salle.
“The good thing is this is just our first game of the season. And the season is long. The mistakes we made earlier, we have to learn from those. (The Maroons) got the win, but we hope to get back at them in the second round. We have a chance,” he said.
That optimism was shared, to no one’s surprise, by Quiambao’s old coach, Goldwin Monteverde, who now calls the shots for the Maroons.
“Maybe that’s just him being a rookie,” Monteverde said of his old ward, who played under him at Nazareth School. “But knowing Kevin, I’m sure (he’ll get his groove).”
“We saw it towards the end of the game. Two big shots. He’ll bounce back, definitely,” the soft-spoken mentor went on. He’s going to really think about what lapses happened. And that’s how I know him.”
Quiambao missed 10 straight shots in the game before finally hitting his targets in the dying minutes, which was a little too late for the Green Archers.
“I know he’s going to improve,” Monteverde said.
Before leaving the customary post-game chat, the 21-year-old ace from Muntinlupa sounded like he’s prime for exactly just that.
“I got to figure them out,” Quiambao said of his lapses. “I’m going to watch the film and figure out what I did [wrong].”
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